The Big Bang was a FREE day-long education event organised by The STEM Hub, (part of Canterbury Christ Church University) which took place on Friday, March 9th 2018, at the Discovery Park, with the aim of inspiring a love of STEM subjects.
The event featured 31 interactive drop-in stands and 10 workshops, allowing every student to gain insight into a range of ‘hands-on’ experiences including interactive exhibits and workshops, talks run by STEM Ambassadors from local companies and organisations.
Around 1000 students enjoyed the day’s activities and every student attended a 60 minute show. Half the students watched ‘Deep Ocean Lab’ by Youtuber and Blue Peter’s Science Guy - Greg Foot. Experiments and stunning videos were demonstrated by Greg as he showed the students the high-tech submersibles that took his down 1000ft into the Twilight Zone. He explained the importance of our oceans and uncovered the effect we are having on them. The other half enjoyed watching ‘Juggling’ a maths show by the University of Kent, who explained the mathematical process of juggling!
Students also enjoyed many other workshops including:
- Astrodome – encouraging students to reason, evaluate and find logic/realism and question but in an entertaining way
- Bloodhound SSC – students made their own balloon car
- Chemical Challenge with Pfizer – designing an experiment
- Computing workshop – looking at how signals generated by facial muscle movement are used to control the movement of a humanoid robot
- CRP Simulation with Health Education England – looking at the relevant chemical changes that are occurring in the body
- Finger Printing with CCCU Forensics – demonstrating how to collect evidence as the basic of identification
- Lab in a Lorry with Kingston University – investigating how the chemical properties of bubbles change with additives!
- Lights, Microbits and The Internet of Things with the Institution of Engineers and Technology – making torches and programming their own security alarm using Bluetooth
- Topology and Play Doh with the University of Kent – solving real life problems using Play-Doh
- You Say Tomato with A Pearson Growers – introducing intense tomato production, demonstrating biological control, pollination, photosynthesis, plant steering and the carbon cycle and where our food comes from!
Students also enjoyed the drop-in zones with exhibits provided by:
BioProNet, Canterbury Christ Church University, Delphi, East Kent College, Eastern Regions Special Operations Unit, Hadlow College, Hilderstone Ametur Radio Club, IMechE, National Grid, Rotary Club, Royal Engineers Museum, Royal Engineers, Sekisui Diagnostics Ltd, STEM Ambassador Hub , The University of Greenwich and The University of Kent
Feedback from students:
- “I really enjoyed it, I loved doing all the different activities and all the prizes. It really benefited my learning and was better and more interesting than a school day and the talk was a very educational, I learned a lot” – Highsted Grammar
- “Today I have learnt a lot about science. When I have my next science lesson I will share my knowledge. I have learnt loads of reactions and how to make a car. Today was really fun” – The Abbey School
- “It was very fun today especially the car making, everybody was very nice and helpful. I would love to come here again. This is the best trip ever” – Canterbury Academy
Feedback from teachers:
- “I just wanted to say thank you for putting on such a good event on Friday and for accommodating us with last minute changes. The students loved it” – Rainham Mark Grammar School
- “I attended yesterdays Big Bang event with a group all of whom have ASD and it was a resounding success! All staff agreed that it was amazing to see how young people who usually shy away from social interaction were engaged and asking questions. The opening presentation by Greg Foot was great and the students were particularly interested in Professor Induruwa’s robotics presentation. Many of them said they would consider pursuing an FE course in a STEM subject” – Laleham Gap School
Feedback from STEM Ambassadors:
- “From the perspective of our stand it was a great day; well organised, we were well fed, and we had constant communication through the day, so a huge thank you for looking after us all. A true inspiration to us all”
- In what ways did this event impact on pupils understanding of STEM subjects and careers? “The main advantage for the students would have been in the variety of experiences that they would have had access to ver the course of the day. This should have given them plenty of ideas as to the many types of people that they could aspire to be”
Hellen Ward, Director of The STEM Hub said: “Big Bang has become a central part of the STEM Hub’s calendar. Now in its fourth year, the students and companies who attend this event bridge the gap between schools and businesses”
Kimberley Anderson, CSR and Community Manager for Discovery Park, said: “Education runs through the core of everything we’re trying to achieve at Discovery Park. Without the opportunities to encourage the next engineers and scientists we’d have a job on our hands to thrive. The Big Bang is great for getting across some really complex concepts in such a simple way, helping to light a spark that can inspire a generation. And those sharing their knowledge look as if they’re having as much fun as the kids too! “