From pedal powered TV’s to getting active at a silent disco, The Big Bang Fair 2018 was buzzing with the latest offers in STEM education at the Birmingham NEC on Wednesday.
We were there with Siemens to launch their new Self Driving Car interactive and a new coding and robotics resource. Designed to help support KS3 students learn to code and get inspired by the future of driverless transport, our young visitors had no problems programming the Siemens robo-buggies themselves to drive along our Auto City map routes, teaching us a thing or two about Microbit coding! Our robo-buggies even caught the eye of Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State, who seemed very impressed by the activity.
Robotics activities were very popular throughout the fair with students exploring the theme of an automated future at stalls like Mecchano, E-on and VEX Robotics. We spoke to Rolls Royce Aero, inspiring the next generation of Leonardo Da Vincis with art, creativity and 3D printing. GlaxoSmithKline’s stand also drew in large crowds – we found out how attractive we were to mosquitos (very!) and how to make our own toothpaste.
Aside from the goodie bags, the existing STEM knowledge of students at the festival was the most memorable take away from the event. The school projects on display by the Big Bang Competition finalists were as impressive as the company exhibits. One group of 14 years olds had developed a cost-efficient way to heat water with solar panels for a charity in Romania, while another project demonstrated how a school could be made sustainable if it became an island due to rising sea levels.
We’re hopeful that the intelligence and excitement on display at Big Bang this year shows that skills and enthusiasm for STEM amongst young people is already there…it just needs to be harnessed.