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Discover, Create, Inspire: STEM Community Celebration Triumphs at Memorial Gardens in Crawley

 May 18 2024 | Sussex | Views: 392

The early shower and cloudy skies did not dampen the mood as STEM in the Park made its return to Memorial Gardens in Crawley on Saturday 18 May. The event drew approximately 4,000 children, parents and grandparents, all eager to enjoy a spectacular day celebrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).

The aim of STEM In The Park is to engage all ages in STEM activities by utilising teamwork, creativity, and, most importantly, having fun while learning. The event was supported by employers from various STEM industries, as well as local businesses and organisations, offering over 65 different STEM experiences for the community to relish. The event was further bolstered by many STEM Ambassadors, who assisted in various roles throughout the day.

Numerous highlights marked the event, including an inaugural visit from Ardingly and Ifield Community Colleges' educational STEM Bus. Visitors could step aboard to engage in activities like learning how a Van de Graaff generator operates and watching a robotic arm pick up blocks. The new science shows captivated the audience with mesmerizing magic tricks, mathematical marvels, and fascinating objects of wonder. Additionally, the popular planetarium shows offered a taste of space exploration, transporting visitors into the solar system to learn about stars, galaxies, and everything space-related.

Over 30 exhibitors supported the event, some returning and many joining for the first time, from various industries including construction, engineering, aviation, healthcare, environmental and geoscience offering vital careers information to young people and parents on varied opportunities available within their industries.  Each displayed educational STEM related  table-top activities designed to ignite curiosity within STEM. There was something exciting for all ages, including; experimenting with energy waves using a ‘Sound-Bite’ machine and LEGO Seismometer, discovering the importance of effective handwashing using an Ultra Violet Light box and learning about the power of vacuum with various bell jar demonstrations using apples and marshmallows. Children donned VR headsets to experience the thrill of swimming with some of the ocean’s largest animals, and much more!

Returning for the second year Metrobus welcomed visitors on-board its new hydrogen-powered bus and the student-led solar car, that had travelled across Australia, was another popular highlight where young visitors could sit in the driving seat and learn about solar power. Young people were thrilled to navigate a drone through a challenging obstacle course and learn about modern drone technology applications. London Gatwick’s engineering team enabled children to power an airfield lighting rig and build bridges with snap circuits. Crawley College and the new Sussex and Surrey Institute of Technology enticed young visitors onto the park bandstand with hands-on fun with robots, games and virtual reality and extended STEM activities were taking place at the college STEM Centre across the road.

Parents and children shared their thoughts about the event. One parent expressed gratitude, saying: "Thank you for supporting the Special Educational Needs sticker system. It really helped my autistic son. The variety of subjects was fascinating." Junior visitor Agnes remarked: "It really is fun to do science. I had a great day." Athiyya aged 9, added: "I learned all about static energy."

Results from an electronic survey conducted on the day claimed, 98% of children said they would return. While 90% of STEM in the Park visitors were from the Crawley area, the event's extensive marketing and advertising attracted attendees from other regions, including a family from Birmingham!

Deepest gratitude is extended to the exhibitors and STEM Ambassadors for their invaluable support in making the event a great success.

The event was sponsored by Crawley Borough Council and London Gatwick and delivered by The STEM Hub.


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