STEM event helps school children measure-up technical challenges

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by Tom Drinkall

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Schoolchildren from across the Humber region studied the appliance of science, technology, engineering and maths as they spent a STEM in Action day with Humberside Engineering Training Association and some of its partner businesses, including KC.

Fun activities included dressing up as jockeys, making bubble-bath and examining fingerprints, whilst KC’s activity allowed children to simulate how the internet works.

The serious message behind the day was the importance of introducing young people to the possibilities of technical careers.

Iain Elliott, Chief Executive of HETA, said: “We’ve been doing these events for a few years now and talking to the teachers today it seems as popular as ever.

“Somebody has to take the lead for educating young people about science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Working with schools in the area, HETA has a big part to play in educating children about this at the earliest age we can.”

Among the businesses which supported HETA in the two-day event held at the KC Stadium were Croda Europe Limited, which presented workshops on how to make bubble-bath, and Sleaford-based Pulse CSI, which demonstrated forensic science techniques.

Carrie Ford, Regional Education Officer from the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust, gave the children an insight into the technical issues behind a day at the races – something which she covers in more detail in her regular visits to racecourses at Beverley and Market Rasen.

Carrie said: “We run a maths education programme working with about 10,000 young people to demonstrate the relevance of maths at different racecourses around the UK.

“Children look at the effect that weight has on a horse’s performance, they look at the work of the health and safety officers and they study how the jumps are configured.”

Lucy Day, a teacher at William Barcroft Primary School in Cleethorpes, said: “Our school comes here every year and we brought about 20 children this time from years five and six.

“They particularly enjoyed working with the people from Croda to make bubble-bath because it was really hands-on. There was a lot of measuring involved in that and it’s the sort of thing that might give us the starting point for a project when we get back to school.”

Sam Kenny, a teacher at Thoresby Primary School in Hull, watched her pupils getting to grips with a mini crime scene.

She said: “They were working on a crime scene investigation and studying things like magnetic dust and oils from your handprints. When you give them something like this they are engaged straight away.”

Brendon Smurthwaite, Community Co-ordinator at KC, said: “We’ve supported STEM in Action for several years now and it’s a terrific event which allows local companies like ourselves to engage with over 200 primary school children from across the area.

“The workshop we ran allowed the children to simulate how the internet works and the feedback we received was that they found it both fun and educational. Our volunteers from within the business really enjoyed delivering the workshop as well and everyone is looking forward to next year’s event already.”

Iain added: “We have a lot of technical industries in our region and we want these young people to consider going into those industries. We need to get more of them engaged with STEM subjects and this is a great way for us to do that.

“This event fits perfectly with our charitable status but we can’t do it without the employers – their contribution is invaluable.”

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by Tom Drinkall

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