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World Space Week Guildford 2021

 October 09 2021 | Surrey | Views: 561

World Space Week Guildford 2021 is an annual day event organised by the Institute of Physics (IOS) South Central Branch, as part of World Space Week, which this year celebrates Women in Space.

The event takes over Guildford high street with interactive physics stands, arts and crafts, space themed music and drama and family friendly evening lectures from The University of Surrey.

For the event The STEM Hub assisted in recruiting over 20 STEM ambassadors including from The National Physics Laboratory along with The STEM Hub's James, to man stands and support interactive ‘physics busking’ demonstrations.

Visitors could build and fire a rocket using children’s building blocks and rubber bands, or watch a demo of Jupiter’s tornado storm, the famous red dot on the planet. James assisted with ‘Popping pots’ and ‘Amazing Marshmallows’. Popping pots proved a fun hands on way of engaging passing families, watching film canisters fly into the air. The children physically engaged by filling the canisters with water, adding a vitamin C tab before shaking to create an explosion, thus, allowing them to learn how chemical reactions create energy.

Another hit with children of all ages was ‘Amazing Marshmallows’ demonstrating how space suits work. This visual activity involved placing marshmallows in a clear sealed container and then watching them expand as the air was sucked out. Feedback from STEM Ambassador Stephen, shows what a successful activity this was in using the excitement of SPACE to engage with other STEM topics, such as the environment. He reports, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the questions…. and discussions I had about space, and the shear enjoyment on faces as they watched our marshmallow astronaut expand when sent into space and shrink on return to earth. It was a great opportunity to talk about how important it is to look after the planet we live on.’

Other activities and events included a model of the ‘Rosalind Franklin’ a planned Mars Rover, scheduled to launch into space on September 20th 2022. This was provided by Airbus who demonstrated the model using remote control robotics. Telescopes were also available to view, and the winners of the schools IOP poster competition were announced, and prizes awarded.

James estimates that over 2000 people engaged with the event, including people without a previous interest in Space. By using a communal space such as a high street to hold the event, STEM ambassadors were able to share their passion with the wider community. This increases the possibility of capturing the imaginations of children to go into STEM based careers, who may otherwise have missed out, due to lack of engagement opportunity.

STEM ambassador Andrew from NLP emphasised this point with his feedback, that as a team of 5 they ‘discussed topics from climate change, electricity, atomic clocks and mass measurement based on our repeatedly sanitised demos with about 400 people of all ages… we felt many people left with a greater appreciation of the value of our work’.

This was an extremely engaging and successful day event that would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and voluntary commitment of the STEM Ambassadors. We look forward to World Space Week Guildford 2022!

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