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CASE STUDY - Ten Years of SEAs and STEM Ambassadors: Tony Gill STEM Cumbria - Read more....

A comment received yesterday 17th July 2016 from a STEM Ambassador:

“I am looking at a career change to become a Chemistry Teacher. In September I will start a Schools Direct teacher training course with University of Cumbria.  I will therefore need to end my role as a STEM Ambassador but can hopefully cross the fence to become a supportive teacher once I complete the course and hopefully find a position in Cumbria.

I would like you to know that it was partly my experiences within the STEM Programme that crystallized my ideas on becoming a teacher.” 

Comments from Stuart Buchanan - Sellafield STEM Ambassador on the Robotics Event at Keswick School - March 2016

I attended my first STEM workshop at Keswick School for the Robotics challenge and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Fran the Stem representative managed a very large group of year 7 kids admirably and showed a real passion for his work. The kids were a joy to work with and a real credit to their school. I definitely plan to attend more of these in the future.

Cumbria's First First Lego League Competition took place on the 4th February 2016 - please read STEM Ambassador and teacher comments below but Congratulations to Ennerdales Engineers for winning the event and booking their place in the finals on 21st February 2016 - see News Pages:

Thanks for today and well done to you and the team. It was brilliantly executed! Luke Richardson - Costain

I really enjoyed the day, it was great to see the work the young engineers had done and impressive to see such a high standard of teamwork and sportsmanship. Well done to and your team for organising such a successful event.  I’m not a STEM ambassador, but after yesterday I am definitely thinking about it!  Anna Brown - Jacobs

Thanks to you guys for organising it, it seemed to go down great with the kids and was a pleasure to help with. The First Lego League is such a good event, it’s an amazing challenge for the kids to take part in, and really rewarding to be involved in. The whole core values aspect to it really seemed to have grabbed the kids attention and you could see how it had shaped their approach to the whole project; team work, sportsmanship and problem solving shone throughout the whole day.  Chris Wear - REACT Engineering

Thanks for last week.  It exceeded my expectations as an event and I am more determined than ever to see how I can help Tony to expand it in Cumbria for next year.  Excellent! Pete Woolaghan - REACT Engineering

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the day, I was so impressed with all the work and enthusiasm of the pupils of all of the schools that attended the day.  They had all worked so hard with the testing and development of their robots and with the presentation of their project work.  There was so much energy in the room, usually it gets a bit slow in the afternoon, with pupils losing focus, but as the competition was in the afternoon it really kept the pupils and the Judges engaged and on their toes.  Watching the individual teams work together to resolve problems during the each of the runs, tweaking start positions or decisions making to complete the task was great to see.  Good sportsmanship – One team member called over to the opposing team just before the countdown to say “good luck”, I thought that was I real credit to the team. Truly an inspirational day, it’s great that Cumbrian schools can get involved in such a well-rounded engineering and life skills event.  See you at the next one! Robin Bell - Assystems Ltd

I really enjoyed last week,  it was great to see all the hard work and enthusiasm that the children had put into their robot, it’s design, project and their core values. It was very rewarding and very difficult at the same time to judge them on all their work as all teams were of a high standard. All of the teams displayed great team work and sportsmanship. Overall I thought it was a great event and hats off to you all for organising it all. I am looking forward to seeing schools efforts next year! Jemma Cowan - Sellafield

Teacher Comment from Craig Cowper, Victoria Junior School - We all had a fantastic day, thank you - we were particularly thrilled to win the Core Values trophy. Thank you for organising such a terrific event and for the photos. We'll definitely be entering next year's competition! 

Teacher comment from Erin Strickland, Fairfield Primary School - I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the Lego League tournament and all the support in the run up to it. The children have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and what they learned on the day is absolutely invaluable. They have developed confidence, problem solving skills, team working skills and new friendships. It has been a really exciting experience and the team are disappointed that they won't be at our school for the next one! I cant wait to get started with this year's team and look forward to working with you again.

Congratulations to all the teams who entered our very First First Lego League competition!!

Comments from Brian Boyd, STEM Ambassador at BAE Systems on his first outing as a STEM Ambassador at the Speed Networking Event at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School.

Please allow me to thank you for facilitating and supporting my first STEM Ambassadorial event held at Kirby Stephen Grammar School on 3rd February.

I found that all of the staff I met were extremely approachable, helpful and eager to please, even though I arrived about an hour and a half early!

During the sessions I was involved in  students displayed varying levels of engagement ranging from, what I would describe as,  good to very impressive with several of them exhibiting a maturity beyond their years.

The event has allowed me to gain a sense of understanding of what young people require from their education, and I hope they have taken from me a sense that STEM subjects can be the foundations to support further options for work and life development.

Comment from Clive Wallhouse, STEM Ambassador from BAE Systems - Kirkby Stephen Grammar School Speed Networking Event Feb 2016

The Speed Networking event took place at Kirby Stephen Grammar School. The event was well planned with the Ambassadors receiving all the joining instructions well in advance of the event date.

We were welcomed at reception and guided to the appropriate room, which was laid out for groups of students to interview the Ambassadors. The students were interested, polite, but did not hesitate to ask questions they wanted answered.

Each of the sessions lasted for approximately 50 minutes with the Ambassador's talking for the majority of the time. There were 7 groups, with each group getting approximately 7 minutes with each Ambassador. During the day there were 4 sessions. The Ambassadors were extremely grateful for the regular refreshments to stop them going hoarse.

It appeared that the students learnt some new career options, and an insight into what a career in science or engineering would entail.

As an Ambassador, it was rewarding to see the enthusiasm the students had for learning when a new opportunity presented itself.

Blog from Michael Oliver, STEM Ambassador from BAE Systems - St. Bernard's School Technology Challenge Day - December 2015:
My first visit as a STEM Ambassador was at St. Bernard’s School where we were tasked with helping a group of students in constructing a ping-pong ball launcher and a tower to place the launcher on. The aim of the task being to launch a ball into a tower of cups in order to knock them over. Initially, I didn’t think I would be able to bring much to the role but I quickly realised how much working knowledge I could impart to students to encourage them to try new ideas.

Students were quickly able to identify theories in their own Maths and Science lessons which could help the ball travel that little bit further, whether it is using triangular frames to strengthen the foundations of their tower or changing the angle of their launcher to better its trajectory. The best part of the day for me was seeing young people try out their own theories about how to make the project work more effectively based on ideas that they had developed with me. Some ideas worked, some didn’t but that’s the beauty of Engineering!

Students were able to identify why certain ideas weren’t working and were able to adapt their project to make it work more effectively. One of the students said to me ‘So if it works first time, it isn’t good enough?’, I found this to be a very powerful statement and one that I will take back to my workplace, no matter how good something this, you can always make it better!

Big Bang Cumbria - Furness Area October 2015

Comments received from Colin Nash, STEM Ambassador - Siemens PLC
We enjoyed both days ourselves, there was plenty of interaction and interest in STEM and how our equipment supports and relates to STEM based subjects too. It’s great to have fun while still getting the message across to the pupils and supporting the teachers and yourselves in these endeavour’s.

Staff from CEH's Lancaster site recently attended the STEM Cumbria Big Bang event at Furness College, Barrow, an activity aimed at generating interest and enthusiasm among local students for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths study and careers.  Over the two days of 22nd and 23rd October more than 1125 local Primary, Secondary School and College Students visited and took part in our Slimy Science Creature Challenge. The challenge involved fishing sponges out of a bucket of goo, then using foodweb knowledge to assign creatures to the correct place on the food chain. The event was very successful and a good time was had by all, especially by the winners who received a bar of chocolate! For more information and to view Jacky Chaplow's Blog please click here

Comments about the Cumbria Big Bang Furness Area from Anna Shaw, STEM Ambassador at GSK
On behalf of everyone who attended from GSK, I’d like to say that we thoroughly enjoyed the Big Bang event again this year. Thank you very much for the pictures; I think they all show how much we enjoyed delivering our activities and also how engaged the pupils were too. Every pupil who came over to our stand got involved in our activities and showed real enthusiasm for science which is so pleasing to see. This event is definitely one we look forward to all year!

Comments from Nigel Gillson, Deputy Head of Science, Whitehaven Academy regarding STEM Ambassador support for a STEM and Enterprising activity day with Year 8 students - June 2015

STEM Ambassadors came to support a STEM and Enterprising activity day with Year-8 students - Balloon Engineering. The students were tasked to design and build a balloon powered car out of recycling material with the hope that it would be the fastest and best designed car all within £200. Throughout the day, students were given opportunity to test their car and modify it making improvements before entering the competition at the end where three awards were handed out, Fastest car, Best design and Best Team work.

The STEM Ambassadors were of great value. They got stuck in immediately from 9am helping students, asking questions, enhancing students understanding of what they were doing and what they were aiming to find. I believe the year 8 students got a lot out of the day. I also put some of the STEM Ambassadors on the spot half-way through the day asking them to say a bit about what they do. I think they did inspire some of the children, especially when they found out that these women worked in engineering. Honestly, we at the Whitehaven Academy could do with MORE exposure to the STEM Ambassadors in order to raise the aspiration of our young people.

Comments from Chis Newton, teacher at St. Thomas's School after a request for Ambassador Support was completed. Helen and Anna from GSK visited St Thomas's School recently to assist in this lesson.

'The lesson activity on microorganisms provided a means for the children to link classroom learning to real life. The children were able to talk to adults who actually deal with microbiology and who could share information about what they do, and how their work leads to the production of new medicines. The children could understand more clearly that the skills and knowledge they were learning are important in everyday life. The activity clearly showed how Malaria could be spread and linked to the work children had done on harmful Microorganisms. The children really enjoyed the lesson and gave lots of positive feedback about the afternoon.'  

Speed Networking Session - Millom School - 23rd April 2015 - comments from Sarah Williams, Area Manager Inspira on behalf of Millom School.

Your STEM Ambassadors motivated, supported and encouraged the Year 10 students to aim high and to consider the necessary skills and qualities for a whole range of opportunities.

Many thanks again for all your help.

Ken Dawson - BAE STEM Ambassador writes about the Speed Networking Event - Dowdales School April 2015 

Enjoyable event – which I think everyone got something out of.

Good to see young people at the threshold of a career & taking an interest in the world of work.

One or two ‘shrinking violets’ but on the whole the young people were engaged & asked some interesting questions.

Dowdales staff were very welcoming & I enjoyed it as much as the Cartmel School speed networking event I supported some months ago. Many thanks to the STEM team & BAE my employer for facilitating my attendance & involvement.

Mike Jeschke, Siemens Ambassador writes about his Croftlands School Visits over the last few weeks.

The Croftlands School visits are based on the Chemistry at Work sessions which Siemens delivered at Furness College in October last year, it is primarily the same slides adapted to suit the age ranges of the children. It is an overview of the non-metallic materials that we use in the business and how they are used in our connectors. We explore how similar these materials are to those used in everyday life (e.g. the elastomers that we use are similar to Loom bands which all children can appreciate). So long as we communicate and relate what we do with things that are familiar to the children then the sessions go really well.

One of the children on Friday said to me ‘thank you, that was the best science lesson I have ever had’. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Walney School 4x4 challenge

On Wednesday 11th February, 2 teams of Year 8 pupils from Walney School took part in the Landrover in Schools 4x4 Challenge. Along with Mrs Campbell, Mr Mullaney and Mr Magee we set off for the factory in Liverpool at 6.30am.

We had spent the previous 5 weeks working extremely hard to design and build a remote control 4x4 vehicle, to strict criteria. This included designing a body for the car, a set of automatic lights and a tilt sensor.

Click here from the full story and pictures from Mr Magee, Teacher at Walney School

Case Study:

Nuffield Research Placements at Siemens, Ulverston - August 2014

Student Profiles

James Allison and Jacob Allen completed Nuffield Research Placements and CREST Gold Awards at Siemens Subsea Excellence Centre during August 2014.  The Nuffield Research Placements were four week summer placements organized and managed by STEM Cumbria Ltd. Both students have recently presented their work at the Barrow District and Association of Engineers forum (Thursday 20th November) and the Furness Big Bang Science Fair (Tuesday 25th November). James’ project focused on the Design of a Protective Cap for Foetron Fibre Optic Receptacle Connectors. Jacobs’ project focused on Compatibility Studies of Oils and Elastomers for Fibre Optic Connectors. Both students are currently in year 13 studying A-Levels at Ulverston Victoria High School and have submitted applications to present their projects at the Big Bang Science Fair National Finals. Please click here for the full Case Study.

 

STEM for Girls at Univeristy of Cumbria - Lego Mindstorms and VEX Robotics day - 4th July 2014 Posted by: Dijesh Das STEM Ambassador at BAE Systems

STEM for Girls  - This was my first event with STEM Cumbria Ltd as a STEM Ambassador. I voulnteered to support the team to inspire school girls in STEM through the use of simple robotics using LEGO NXT Mindstorms Robots and by getting the kids to take on challenges using VEX Robots. It was a real inspirational day and I felt as if we had achieved more than anticipated.

Overall Experience of the Event - It was a delightful event where the STEM Ambassadors (Tony and Fran) led the day by deploying great energy and devotion amongst the team which was reflected and resulted in enthusiastic and engaging STEM members, teachers and pupils.

LEGO NXT Mindstorms Robots - The LEGO Mindstorms is a great piece of technology for the pupils as beginners purely because it was simple, easy to use and presentable. They understood the concept of the input devices (sensors), output devices (servo motors, display screen, speakers) and the brain (NXT 2.0 programmable brick) pretty quickly. They found graphical object programming using the NXT 2.0 programming environment (VIs in LabVIEW) user friendly and simple. Also, an understanding of mathematical and physical variables was demostrated on the day such as: converting distance using time and counts, using steering and speed to determine the angular turn of a robot and knowing the difference between a rotation and a turn. The programming performed by the kids was exemplary.

VEX Robots Challenge - This was real fun! The kids were in teams and they had to control a VEX robot using remote control to follow a line and pick up a set of bobbins as quickly as possible. Each team was timed and the quickest team won the challenge. It was so much fun, where I ended up controlling a VEX robot in the foyer and using it to pick up a paper cup. Excellent bit of kit!

Speed Networking - Dowdales 2nd July 2014 - Comments from Mandy Turner - main contact for Speed Networking sessions at Dowdales School.

Thank you so much for all your help and expertise in making for another brilliant speed networking event yesterday at Dowdales. We couldn’t have done it without the help and enthusiasm of all your lovely Stem Ambassadors. Walking round the hall yesterday, listening to the Ambassadors and watching the students interact, they were all so focussed and your Ambassadors so engaging. It was a lovely morning and over far too quickly! 

Queen Elizabeth School (QES), Kirkby Lonsdale Science visit and tour of the facilities at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s Lancaster site in June - Written by Jacky Chaplow, CEH, STEM Ambassador who organised the visit

Students and teachers from Queen Elizabeth School (QES), Kirkby Lonsdale enjoyed a whistle stop science visit and tour of the facilities at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s Lancaster site in June. Three students, a teacher and a technician visited for the day on June 17th to find out about some of the science carried out at CEH and to stimulate ideas for Gold STEM award projects.

The visit began with a trip to the Hazelrigg field site, adjacent to Lancaster University, where CEH’s outdoor mesocosm experiment is situated. Dr Heidrun Feuchtmayr explained more about the experiment, which has 32 tanks that mimic shallow lakes and contain water and sediment from Lake Windermere. The current experiment is examining the effect of multiple stressors of climate change to see what will happen to shallow lakes and their food webs. Link to mesocosm facility web page: http://www.ceh.ac.uk/sci_programmes/water/ceh-aquatic-mesocosm-facility.html

Next stop was a visit to PhD student and STEM Ambassador Kim Parmar’s water table manipulation experiment. Kim explained that she and a team of fieldworkers had sampled 100 soil cores from Gisburn Forest the previous week. Kim was in the middle of setting up a microcosm experiment by adding water to different depths, one set of cores with water levels close to that in the field and the other with a water table 3cm from the top of the core. Kim will be collecting and analysing gas samples to see what happens to greenhouse gas concentrations when the soil water table has been perturbed.

Finally we visited STEM ambassador Elaine Potter from the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) (http://pbms.ceh.ac.uk/). Elaine explained how the PBMS relies on members of the public to send in deceased birds of prey. Elaine then carries out a post mortem on the submitted birds, taking samples of tissues, bones and feathers that are retained in a -20oC freezer and analysed for chemical contaminants. Elaine also showed the group how she carries out a post mortem - much to the excitement of most of the visitors!

In addition, we squeezed in a tour of the laboratory facilities, a chat with a few members of staff along the way before the group had lunch with Professor Bill Davies from Lancaster Environment Centre.

National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) - blog written by Emily Pauling, BAE Systems STEM Ambassador

Monday 23rd June 2014 marked the first ever National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) run by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). To mark the day, employees of BAE Systems at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard who are also WES Cumbria members ran an activity day for 51 girls in year 6 from 5 local schools.

The day took place at Furness College in Barrow, where the girls had talks from some of the women working at BAE Systems, as well as a guest speaker slot from the Engineering and Commissioning Director, Tony Burbridge. Most of the day was taken up by the Practical Action squashed Tomato Challenge, which was based on the design, build and testing lifecycle of engineering. The task is to design a system which will allow farmers in Nepal to carry tomatoes over a river without squashing them! Teams were mixed up so there was someone from each school on each team – designed to demonstrate engineering is about working with all sorts of people, and lots of people you have never met before! Each team were given an hour to design their device, as well as budget and buy their materials. An hour and a half was given to build and conduct preliminary tests, leaving an hour for the final phase– testing with tomatoes in the basket!

There were a few squashed tomatoes but overall the teams were hugely successful; congratulations again to our winning team Red Wolf. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all, by the end many of the participants said engineering was fun and something they would like to continue learning about.

For more information about WES Cumbria or to find out how you can celebrate NWED next year, follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook. 

Champion-ships Event – BAE Systems, Barrow In Furness Cumbria. Written by Rebekah Nuttall, BAE Systems STEM Ambassador.

Champion-ships was an exciting event pitching six local secondary schools against each other in a live market trading scenario using ships of their own design and construction.

Teams of five students from each of the schools were invited to the event held at Furness college and were quickly settled in with a welcome presentation explaining the scenario for the day. The scenario was; they were to design and build a cargo ship from buoyant foam and an electrical propulsion circuit. Which were then used to transport their commodities to be sold in the trade market which followed to principles of the stock market with peaks and falls based on what is being traded, all this to be done on a budget.

During the presentation the students were given an introduction the principles of buoyancy and the basics of fluid dynamics. There was specific regard to hull forms as well an introduction to market trading.
Post presentation the students broke off into school groups where they began the design phase during which they were aided by an ambassador. The students were encouraged to give themselves roles and create a plan. They dived straight in to the task of creating individual designs having to think of all aspects of the design, including: component locations, ease of manufacture, ease of access and capacity. The students then had a review and brought all the ideas together to generate a shared final design.

Roles were then established for the build stage of construction we had; buyers (in charge of components), accountants (checking the budgets), planners (creating a build strategy) and finally designers (producing the technical drawings). The roles morphed and interchanged as the build progressed with those on build strategy forming the hull from foam, whilst those who were buyers created the circuit. The outcomes of the build phase were some interesting hull forms alongside a large amount of mess. 

Interim awards were given out for the best technical drawing and for the ship which remained closest to the original design. This served to bolster their confidence and budgets.

After lunch the boats were taken down to the pool undergo trials. Trials included the chance to make any last minute changes. During this time the commodities to be traded with were explained and the intricacies market table were introduced. As a result the students needed a passport which would help track what they were buying and selling and where from.

After tinkering with the ships, they were hooked up to the guidelines and the market was opened. Students would steer their ships from one side of the pool to the other and trade their commodities based on a graphical representation of the market projected on to a screen. They would aim to buy low and sell high but this was soon discovered not to be as easy as it appeared with the delay it took for ships to move between continents whilst other teams selling causing the market to fluctuate.

It was also discovered that problems could arise from overloading their ships resulting in flotsam and the ships not being able to move. This forced a problem solving element to the activity and adapting to conditions.

The market remained open for an hour of hectic trading and the team that used the principles of the stock trade best, raised the most money and became the worthy event champions .

Once the market had closed the pupils were gathered for a round up of the day's events and a chance to share thoughts. The winners were also announced and given their well earned rewards.

After the students left the only thing left to do was to drain the huge pool and attack foam remnants with a hoover. Article by Rebekah Nuttall – BAE STEM Ambassador, Cumbria.

Queen Elizabeth School visits CEH Lab in Lancaster - comments from Teacher Judith Gardner

We visited CEH yesterday and had a great time. Jacky had put together a fantastic programme. It has inspired the three pupils we took and us. There is also a chance for an ambassador in the future.

Comments from Jacky Chaplow, STEM Ambassador at CEH who organised the tour for the pupils:

The visit went well. I think the students were inspired by what we did – there were 3 scheduled demonstrations of actual experiments/work going on and 3 impromptu asking people what they did in the corridor as part of a tour.

Blog to follow shortly.

Girls STEM Event with the University of Cumbria at Energus 10th June 2014

Anita Clements, Head of Year 8 at West Lakes Academy who attended the event alongside the students commented: “It was a fantastic day to promote girls in Engineering and other STEM related subjects. It gave the students the opportunity to try something different and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. The students particularly enjoyed programming the robots and they even had the chance to compete in a robot ‘dance off’ at the end of the day.“

BEE BOTS at St Columba's School Walney - STEM Ambassador Bobby Ewing from BAE Systems writes:
 
I would like to give an update as promised as this was my first BEE BOTS event.  I thoroughly enjoyed  the day with the above school, it was a pleasure to aid Jo Gill and another ambassador (Martin) the children where very polite, the teachers were very accommodating, letting us use their staff room, using their coffee, tea etc  any time we wanted a brew,  a very enjoyable day!  If this was to come up again and I was available I would have no hesitation and would apply  to aid the co-ordinator who would be running the event.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to do the above event  - Bobby 

Ambassador Support for Victoria Junior School, Barrow In Furness - for their annual Buggy Building Project during National Science and Engineering Week on 17th and 18th March. Email received from Pete Davison Victoria Junior School

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising our STEM Ambassadors and to the Ambassadors for being such a crucial part of our science and engineering week activities. They are always so keen to help and great with the children. The children get a lot of learning out of having "real engineers" in school and it heightens their curiosity about careers in engineering. They just get stuck in straight away to help the children and the teachers and are a valuable resource. It has been a fantastic week. Many thanks again

Julie Miller - STEM Ambassador from Sellafield on her experience at the Keswick School Robotics event 12th March 2014 

I really enjoyed my 2 days at the Keswick School Robotic Event.   Really impressed with Fran and Tony and how the event ran and what a lovely atmosphere with the other ambassadors and the school.

The pupils seems to enjoy being the guinea pigs for the new robots.   I think you learn more when things go wrong than if it all worked the first time round - problem solving was definitely well tested by all.

It was a really good introduction into the world of being a STEM Ambassador and looking forward to doing more!

Speed Networking Queen Katherine School, Kendal - Jan 2014 - Peter Shaw - Project Leader Penetrations and Eye-plates Successor - BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines

I thoroughly enjoyed my first STEM event at Queen Katherine School.The Speed networking event was great fun and I loved trying to inspire the kids. One of my favourite bits was when I asked them how many holes do you think there are on a submarine with answers like 10 or 20. When I told them there are thousands they couldn’t believe it, this led on to myself explaining what some of the holes are used for and what techniques we use to maintain structural integrity. 

I explained how Maths is used regularly in our work, structural calculations for example. The kids asked some great questions and added their own bit of fun, I thought it was really funny when one of the kids asked me if I liked Giraffes, great stuff.

Speed Networking Queen Katherine School, Kendal - Jan 2014 - Kristel Kemp - BAE Systems STEM Ambassador

Extract from email sent to Mark Coulthwaite, teacher at the School shortly after the above event.
I just wanted to say what a credit to the school your pupils were last week. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and hope that your students got a lot from it.

As a past teacher myself, there were a few things that stood out to me:

• The students I saw were ALL prepared – with notes and questions ready…and pens… and they used them to write notes!
• The students were generally engaged and genuinely interested, using the opportunity to gather ‘real-life’ information.
• I was amazed by the aspirations of some of the students, and how well thought through they were — from structural engineers, to actors, to ski instructors.
• The social skills of many of the students were well developed – their verbal skills are a real strength.

I also came across a student who told me they had been passed through the hands of multiple social workers during their life. Yet, far from being angry at the system or acting out, she wanted to be a social worker herself to help others. I could have talked to that young lady all day, I think she had a lot to say.

It was an absolute joy to see children of 13-14 years of age still generally behaving and looking like children. The girls were fresh faced and showed innocence and naivety in equal measure. The boys’ were lots of fun with a nice amount of cheeky banter in the mix. Language and behaviour were absolutely age appropriate. There was a freshness and honesty that was really lovely to see. So, I’m not sure whether the congratulations for that sits at home or at school (both probably), but I certainly wanted to mention it.

Thank you for organising the event and letting me be a part of it, I certainly hope to be able to come again

Barrow Island Primary School - After School Science Club - Nick Rowe - STEM Ambassador at BAE Systems, Barrow in Furness.

“I was a little apprehensive stepping into Barrow Island Primary School to help run their ‘After School Science Club’ as I’d never been responsible for trying to teach kids before. But that feeling soon faded as we all got stuck into building our first project; an elastic band powered wheel! I guided them through the instructions and we measured, sawed and glued the kits together while I explained the principle of Potential Energy that powered the wheels…I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they understood everything I threw at them, and how inquisitive they all were.

Over the next weeks we built more objects, each trying to demonstrate a different scientific principle, from electric fan powered cars (highlighting Newton’s 3rd Law) to K’Nex bridges (showing structural dynamics). We even put together a programmable sensor based robot for the school to use for teaching basic programming skills (which was a great exercise for me as well, as I’m rubbish with robotics and electronics in general!). Overall I had a lot of fun interacting with the kids in our weekly sessions, and it turned a few of their heads when I said I built submarines for my day job, so hopefully I’ve encouraged a few more recruits for future STEM jobs.”

Feedback from North Cumbria Big Bang November 2013

IET At The North Cumbria Big Bang Fair  - posted by Kevin Burke (SLO Lancs & Cumbria)

I was at the North Cumbria Big Bang Fair last week, held at Energus near Whitehaven. I was there in my guise as IET Schools Liaison Officer, and was ably assisted by 4 other ‘young’ members, as we manned the IET exhibition stand.

It was a fantastic event. We were there on ‘Primary School’ day, and our stand was visited by 630 little people from 18 local schools. They were not shy in coming forward and got stuck into ‘Packing Parcels’, ‘Electrical Conductors and Insulators’ and making little mini-LED torches to take away (and to annoy parents/teachers with!).

There are clearly lots of potential engineers in Cumbria (we even competed pretty well against the hairdressers on the next stand to ours). Best quote of the day from a year 6 pupil (11yr old); ‘Blimey, I didn’t realise that all this stuff was science as well’.

Thanks to fellow STEM Ambassadors Darren Morris, Gary Tomlinson, Dave McGibbon and David Ward. We were all shattered by the end of the day – so much for having a ‘day off’ to do STEM!

And thanks to STEM Cumbria for getting us involved.

Feedback from the Speed Networking event at Solway School 12 November 2013

Posted by: Martin Woodham 12/11/2013 IBM - STEM Ambassador

I spent an hour or so at Solway Community Technology College in Silloth this morning - a lovely bright day to spend on the Cumbrian coast, in a delightful school.

There were seven STEM Ambassadors from various enterprises, ranging from AMEC, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, Atkins Global, Laing O'Rourke, Electricity North West plus me from IBM.

Around 30 students interviewed us each in rotation, in groups of 3-5, asking a range of questions from 'what do you do?' to 'what do you like best/ worst about your job?', initially from a set of questions provided as prompts -  but by the third rotation or so we were getting inventive; sample questions discarded as we got down to the real nitty-gritty -

"what car have you got?" (a BMW. An old BMW)

"how much do you earn?" (I consider myself well-paid)

and my favourite:

"did you work hard at school?" (Not hard enough!)

The students all seemed to enjoy themselves, either just a break from a normal science lesson, or the chance to engage with some completely new people, and be the ones asking the questions for a change. Some were quiet, especially at first, by the end everyone was joining in and getting their questions in.

Personal learning for me (and a bit of an eye-opener) - no-one knows what IBM is. One of the world's largest  companies (49th largest by market cap.), the inventor of the PC, of Deep Blue, of Watson, providers of the world's largest website (Wimbledon, would you believe?) $100 Billion turnover corporation with 300,000 employees worldwide and we don't even register in Silloth. More work needed on communication then......!

Personally I feel as though we just scratched the surface - speed networking after all - and it merits a follow-up.

The STEM Ambassadors hung around for a while afterwards, chewing over the event - I'm sure we'd all support a more detailed repeat.

Thanks for having us Solway - here's to next time!

Howard Warren - STEM Ambassador - Electricity North West Ltd - Solway School 12/11/2013
A couple of lines about the experience - It wasn’t without a little trepidation that I took on this event, as it’s the first one I’ve done, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll definitely do the next one. If you have the chance to do a speed networking event, go for it, I can heartily recommend this experience to you.

 

Feedback from South Cumbria Big Bang October 2013 - Teacher Feedback received.

Comments from Cheryl and Lucy - Teachers at Newbarns Primary School, Barrow In Furness.

Hi Tony, Thank you so much for dropping off the tablet for Jack which he won at the Big Bang Event in Barrow the other week. Sorry Lucy and I missed you - we were hoping to get a photo of you with Jack but we were tied up teaching at the time.

Jack was extremely excited when he found out he was the winner - he assures us it has been put to alot of use already!

We all (children and staff!) had a fantastic time at the BBF. The children not only learnt so much, but it renewed their enthusiasm for the STEM subjects.  Thanks again. Cheryl and Lucy - Teachers at Newbarns Primary School

On behalf of the staff and children from Ireleth St. Peter's CE Primary, who attended the Big Bang event on Wednesday 16th October, I would like to say a huge thank you. The whole afternoon was fantastic and really got the children engaged and excitied! They had a wonderful afternoon and are still talking about it now. Thanks again, Rachael Watts Science Coordinator R/Y1 Class Teacher

To Everyone involved with the Big Bang!  The George Hastwell Team would like to say a very very BIG THANKYOU!!!!! for such a fantastic afternoon at the BIG Bang Science and Engineering Fair. Everyone enjoyed themselves and came back laden with goodies and memories and "AWESOME" experiences. We don't suppose Oscar the robot would available at any point to come to visit us do you - everyone wanted him to come back to school with us on our minibus! Many Thanks and Best Wishes Therry Cooper & The GHS Big Bang Science Fair Team!

·  On behalf of us all here at Burlington we would like to say a very big thank you to those who organised such an exciting, engaging and successful event. To see so many children excited was wonderful. The feedback from our children was also very positive. Thank you too for the help to ensure that we were able to attend. (Sarah Powell, Burlington Primary School)

·  Just a line to say a big thank you for such a memorable event.  All our children and staff had a wonderful time and were really inspired.  The staff, stands, facilities and presentation were all first rate and our Year 5 and 6 classes have been raving about the event.  Many thanks. (David Younger, St Pius X Primary School)

·  All children and staff said the day was amazing - there was a real buzz about them when they returned. Thanks for all the hard work that went into the event. (Pete Davison, Victoria Junior School)

·  Thank you for all your efforts in organising the Big Bang. The students that I’ve spoken to really enjoyed it. Louis was especially pleased with his prize and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. (Tania Huddleston, St Bernard’s Catholic High School) 

CEH makes a Big Bang at Cumbria Science Fair

Staff and students from CEH's Lancaster site shared their enthusiasm for all living things at the South Cumbria Big Bang Science Fair in October. Their stall, entitled "Slimy Science Creature Challenge", encouraged primary and secondary students to get their hands dirty and think about what it means to work in ecology.

They wrote a blog for the CEH news blog site – please view full story and pictures via the link http://cehsciencenews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/ceh-makes-big-bang-at-cumbria-science.html

CEH staff plan to take part again next year to help inspire the next generation of budding environmental scientists.

STEM Ambassadors Jacky Chaplow, Elaine Potter and Andy Sier

Tritech's Big Bang 21/10/13 - By Darren Brackwell, STEM Ambassador and Tritech's Production Manager.

Tritech's Ulverston site recently supported a local event aimed at propelling the opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines to young people. The Big Bang Event, run by STEM Cumbria Ltd, was held over two days where Tritech hosted an interactive stand for the 3rd year running.

In the UK, the Big Bang is the largest celebration of STEM for young people and is aimed at showing the exciting and rewarding opportunities therein. Tritech's Production Manager, Darren Brackwell commented: "By allowing children to actively participate and interact with Tritech's leading edge technology in a fun and friendly environment, we hope to make local children [in South Cumbria] aware of the exciting opportunities associated with careers linked to STEM". Tritech has also supported STEM Cumbria , Barrow Engineering Project (BEP) and Furness Education & Skills Partnership (FESP) with activities such as attendance at job/ skills fairs, science days and teacher visits to industry.

Tritech remains active members of the FESP (Furness Education & Skills Partnership) and the BEP (Barrow Engineering Project).

For further information on the Big Bang Event please click on this link. - See more at: http://www.tritech.co.uk/blog-article/tritechs-big-bang#sthash.8CpoHUdH.dpuf

 

Critical Thinking and Creativity event at Sandside Lodge School - Monday 8th July - STEM Ambassador Drew Hazlett, Principal Instrumentation Eng - BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines

I thoroughly enjoyed the day at Sandiside Lodge School. It was so very different from the last STEM activity I was involved in. The Staff were so friendly, helpful and appreciative. It was a pleasure working with Tracy,(STEM Ambassador BAE Systems) who had brought along her sewing machine, which was put to great affect (by Tracy, not me).

Barrow Engineering Project Celebrates Five Years' work! Written by Brian Wood, Barrow Engineering Project Coordinator

The Barrow Engineering Project celebrated five years of its work with a major event at The Forum in Barrow in the first week of July. The project, supported throughout by the Royal Academy of Engineering, has incorporated seventeen Furness schools and colleges – from primary through to further education. It has also worked closely with a number of local engineering businesses and with STEM Cumbria Ltd. to highlight to young people the relevance of STEM subjects to the world of work and the attractions of pursuing a career in the engineering sector.

Numbers of learners taking part in BEP funded activities have now exceeded 25,000 and the project has also seen the involvement of in excess of 150 individual teaching and support staff and over 200 individual employees from local businesses.  Most of these employees have been STEM Ambassadors recruited via STEM Cumbria Ltd. to contribute their engineering expertise to a wide range of STEM Challenge days and STEM-based events.

During the celebration event, young people from all the BEP schools and colleges showcased STEM projects they had been involved in and six local engineering businesses also set up display stands which demonstrated their continuing commitment to the aims of the BEP.

Brian Wood, the BEP Coordinator commented. “I am delighted with this whole event. So many people have turned out this evening to signify their support for what has been a highly successful collaboration between education, business and the Royal Academy of Engineering. My sincere thanks go to Tony Gill & all the STEM Cumbria Ltd. team for their tireless work operating the STEM Ambassadors Programme and for their massive input into a host of other STEM-based activities in BEP schools and colleges.”

Following a successful bid to the Sir John Fisher Foundation, it was announced by Lynda Mann from the Royal Academy of Engineering that the BEP will continue into a sixth year and aim to build on the momentum which has been steadily built up over the last five years.

The BEP Celebration Event was attended by John Woodcock MP and also by the Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Barrow, Colin Thomson and his wife. A large number of STEM Ambassadors from local companies were also present.

Our World In 2050 – St Benedict’s School, Whitehaven - Written by Claire Sedgwick - MEng - Client Delivery Manager, Nuclear.  ATKINS

Teleporting devices, floating houses and everyday energy from cow manure... Just a few of the exciting ideas generated by Year 8 students at St Benedict’s School when asked the question ‘What will we be using in 2050?’

Our World In 2050 is designed to get students thinking about how our world will change over the next 40 years. What will our world be like? Will we be affected by climate change? How will technology be developed? The limits of imagination coupled with STEM subject developments means that possibilities really are endless!

The day started with an ideas session where there was an ‘anything goes’ attitude. All students were encouraged to bring their suggestions to the group and from those; one idea was chosen to be taken forward.

Following the decision, a concept design was produced. Colours, sizes, technology and materials all chosen; marketing material produced and presentations written!

Students presented their concepts and competed to be included in the final round where 8 groups would contend for the overall prize.

The standard of presentations and ideas was excellent with all students showing a high level of understanding, interest and determination.

The overall prize for best concept went to Mia Eilbeck, Rhianne O’Neill, Megan Smith & Azariah Pattinson who designed a town capable of floating in a flood situation – an issue that Cumbria has seen become more prevalent over the past few years. See pictures on our Gallery page.

Ian Aikman - Retired STEM Ambassador - Science at Work Event, Dowdales School - Ist February 2013

I have spent much of the weekend mulling over the 'Science at Work' event at Dowdales School on Friday 1st February 2013. It represents the type of exploration for children I have in the past felt was missing and something I was interested to rectify, if only a school would ask.

The interviews were an exciting challenge which went by in a flash and left me wondering how I could have done better by the children who attended. They came up with such varied questions and with only five minutes to cover forty years of experience it was a bit like a pub quiz where you were watching the clock...."Have you had any disasters in the past?" draw breath  "Well yes and you are only the second person who has ever asked me that question. It was like this...." 

Each business representative sat at a table with three children who I understand came from different schools and therefore may not have known each other to begin with; good as this avoided them just talking to each other. My personal experience was that two of the three were well prepared to dive in with questions, perhaps the girls more so than the boys which might explain why girls make up some of the best civil engineers entering the industry. At first the groups of children rotated from one table to another by number, all tables being numbered, then they were given free rein to decide where to go. For me, noise was an issue in picking up the questions and also I felt that time was lost latterally when the children were milling about deciding which table/ representative to choose - I was impatient to see as many as possible.

Overall, my impression was that the event was well structured, successful in itself, and worth repeating in the same format as at Dowdales - perhaps just tweaking it at the edges. However, I believe the long term success of such an event will depend in large measure on the children talking and sharing their experiences - nothing quite as powerful as the ideas of your compatriotes.

Blog for Big Bang Cumbria - Jacky Chaplow - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Slimy Science Creature Challenge at Cumbria Big Bang Fair October 2012  Written by Jacky Chaplow and Harriet Richardson

Staff and students from CEH hosted a stand at a science careers fair in Carlisle last month, during which budding young scientists were able to take on the Slimy Science Creature Challenge! In total, a team of six staff and students from CEH’s Lancaster site created a stand for this year’s “Cumbria Big Bang”, which was held at Carlisle racecourse on 16 and 17 October 2012.

The event was organised by Cumbria STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ltd as a careers fair for 11-18 year old students from local schools and FE colleges, with the primary objective of helping to inspire and enthuse the next generation of young people about these subjects. 

The main focus of our stand was a prize-based competition, which involved participants rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck into an ecology related scientific challenge. Fifty fridge magnets with images of organisms from different trophic levels lay hidden in a large container of green goo (made from gellibaff, a harmless powder which holds 400 times its own weight in water).    

Contestants had 60 seconds to delve into the slime to save as many creatures from the goo as possible.  In extra time, competitors had to correctly transfer the creatures to the right trophic level, i.e. decomposers, primary producers, secondary producers, secondary consumers and top predators. Frantic decision making often led the young scientists to build futuristic food chains, involving top predator pandas! Our stand wasn't just about playing with slime. We took a microscope and showed the students the wide variety of soil animals that can be found in a compost heap such as a woodlouse, millipede, slug, various different worms and springtails. We also presented the kinds of jobs CEH does in Lancaster, including fieldwork, laboratory experiments, working with data, writing reports and presenting our science to the public. 

Everyone that took part was rewarded with a worm – the jelly variety! Those with the most correct answers made it onto our leader board, with four fantastic winners being awarded a pocket LED mini microscope each. Our staff enjoyed the experience of meeting the students and hopefully the budding young scientists were encouraged too with what they learned about CEH and a career in science.

Thanks also to the rest of the CEH team at the event: Elaine Potter, Judith Garforth, Andrew Sier and Claudia Moeckel. To view this article and pictures relating to the event, please click here:

CASE STUDY/BLOG - BEP Raising Water Challenge at Ulverston Victoria High School - by Craig Palfreeman STEM Ambassador Diamould, Barrow In Furness

The kits were distributed to the 8 tables, each table consisted groups of 3 or 4 students. Upon starting the task, the students were asked to spend the first 15 minutes discussing and sketching designs. Some of the groups analysed the available resources prior to starting their sketching.

It was interesting as the day progressed to see whether their original sketches resembled the final build.Early morning comments from some of the students were that they were missing their double science lesson, however, by the afternoon when the designs were being tested there were no such comments about which classes they were missing. All the students were actively participating, some groups actively sharing the work and working to a template. By the afternoon, the students were asking very good questions and were not afraid to shout for assistance.

It was interesting to see how engaged and passionate the students became when their mechanism didn’t quite perform as anticipated, and how they tried to find solutions. At the end of the day all the students were smiling and said thanks, which reinforced my assumption that they really enjoyed the day.Whilst going around the room to see if any groups needed some help, one group’s mechanism wasn’t working and needed some design refinements, the student said to me ‘Please don’t change it a lot’ I replied, ‘I won’t, I am an Engineer, we change things as little as possible to obtain the desired result’ which I think reassured the student.

I certainly enjoyed the day, seeing the students enjoying the challenge so much they didn’t realise how much they were learning.This was my first time being an ambassador in a single school activity and I don’t know why I needed to take a couple of years to pluck up the courage, as there really was nothing to fear.

CASE STUDY: Speednetworking at Cartmel Priory School - Deborah Martland M.Sc.Operational Scientist UU PLC

Four willing STEM Ambassadors met with Tony from Cumbria STEM Centre and after a quick briefing and introductions with the Science teacher who had devised the session, we were each asked to choose a bench and make ourselves at home.

The year 10 students, all having chosen to sit a third science GCSE as an option, were given the opportunity, in groups of four, to grill each of us for ten minutes on our work and career experiences. When the ten minutes were up the students got up and moved on to the next person and repeated the exercise.

After five sessions the students were given the task of feeding back the salient points they had gathered about each of us and we were able to comment on the accuracy. After a short break we repeated the exercise with a second class of students. 

We each chatted to a total of 40 students. No subject was off limit although we reserved the right to politely deflect the more pointed questions about our salaries if we wished. There were common core questions about our qualifications, where we studied, working hours and what we did all day and also some surprising, complex questions about what we other directions we could have taken, did we regret any of our decisions and what we might do next. I found it quite a strange experience to talk about my work history for such an extended period. 

The students had varying levels of confidence in engaging with us but everyone appeared interested and seemed to enjoy the experience. As did the Ambassadors! I think it was a success and I would be keen to do this again with other students. Thanks for the opportunity.

CASE STUDY: Vattenfall Wind Challenge Event - Jenna Storey BT Engineer

The day began around 08:45. I arrived at the Forum 28 feeling a little apprehensive about what the day would entail, and nervous as this was my first event.

On arriving I met the other STEM ambassadors, two from Sellafield and one from BAE systems and also the three engineers representing the Vattenfall Company. All were lovely and after a coffee and meet and greet we were briefed about the days events by Owen Belsey, Dowdales School, Brian Wood, Barrow Engineering Project and Anne Parratt from Vattenfall, who were running the event.

This was an insight into the challenges that the students would be taking part in throughout the day and made me feel more at ease as to what their expectations were of us as an Ambassador.

At around 9.15 all the school children started to arrive and they were instructed to join a group. There were five schools from around the area participating, all with ten students from each. These were then split into teams of five, one student from each of the schools, and an ambassador was designated a group. In my group I had Emily, Molly, Josh, Aaron and Conner.Once everyone was settled the day began with a presentation and introduction to wind farm technology by Anne from Vatternfall. This was then followed by the first activity of naming parts within the wind turbine itself. This was a good ice breaker for the group as they were all shy and it gave them chance to interact.

After getting the information on the correct answers and a short mid morning break, Owen gave further information on wind technology and continued into the second activity. This activity involved planning using various maps, where to locate a new wind farm. The considerations that the students had to take into account were depth of water, as this would determine the particular turbine installed, wind speed, as this would determine a capacity factor to for average costs, location within the sea, taking into account any current infrastructure, shipping routes, cables and rigs etc and also which power station the generated energy would feed back to. Once this was all plotted they then had to work out the installation costs, running costs, yearly income and then work out the total over twenty years. This was done three times and the farm with the highest profit was then plotted onto a larger scale map to compare later with the rest of the teams.

This was a great insight into how well the children again interacted with each, and how each were willing to take on a designated role to help the task go smoothly.

After lunch the final activity was to use material to design and build a device which could install the cable that linked all the turbines. Again Owen briefed the students and gave them the factors to consider before handing this over to the teams.

My team came up with a device which used a ploughing mechanism to lay the cable into the sand bed and to then use a hydraulic spring action to take the cable from the seabed into the J-bend pipes to feed back up and down again to the turbines so all could be connected.

This was my first event and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing how the young students worked together to complete the activities they were doing, and seeing how well they understood each of the challenges. I also liked that at the end of the event, our individual feedback was asked and we were asked to choose one student from each of the groups, this was then discussed further and five students one from each school was awarded star student. I was very happy to see that one Aaron from my team was one of the ones who will be receiving this award and he very much deserved it.

I am looking forward to future events and hope to participate in as many as possible.

CASE STUDY: LAB IN A LORRY Michael Fraser: Consultant Naval Architect BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines

The Institute of Physics' "Lab in a Lorry" is an articulated truck containing three, fully fitted-out, fun experimentation labs. It looks cool and the kids (and teachers) are immediately curious about what's inside. Three experiments are run inside simultaneously, with curtain partitions between, so an average-sized class can be spilt up for everyone to get a good opportunity to participate in practical experiments where the children use all the equipment involved.

Each child got the chance to undertake two of the three experiments on offer during 2 x 25min sessions within a 50 min period. There were at least 5 of these periods during each day, and after-school sessions are also held; therefore at least approx 150 children in total had the chance to find science fun and exciting during my day of volunteering.

The lorry was on site for two days in total, although I was only able to assist for one day; this was totally fine with the organisers and several other volunteers could also only spare a single day. The experiments are really cool with an emphasis on experiencing an exciting encounter with science. I ran the same experiment all day but other volunteers moved around when they fancied a change of experiment.

I was limited in my ability to prepare for the day with respect to prior reading, however, this was more than compensated for by an hour of excellent training at the very beginning of the day, which started very early, well before the first kids' session. My experiment related to fibre optics, which is an area I have no real experience in, but even as I'm engineer rather than a physicist/scientist I still found it quite manageable, especially with the excellent early support of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable on-site manager from the Institute of Physics.

My experiment involved lasers, endoscopes with integral digital cameras and a plastic dummy on which we performed "operations" to remove nuts and bolts from his "stomach" using magnets after we'd diagnosed "him" with the endoscopes. We also used the endoscopes to "spy" around the dividing curtain on the groups in the other labs, which was very fun, and we also fed the endoscopes around an enclosed maze to look for random freaky objects like plastic insects!

The kids soon loosened up once they understood it was about having fun and by relaxing quickly they quickly became interested. There were no kids who failed to be impressed by one or two aspects of the experiments. Universally they were finally "blown away" (not literally!) by a large fused fibre optic that seemed to lift the image of their name, written on a piece of paper, up onto the surface of the fibre optic.

If it's light-bulb moments that you're after then this is an excellent and rewarding event to volunteer for; you also get a year's free membership of the Institute of Physics as a thank you for helping! From a business perspective, because the whole set-up is quite impressive, the teachers were also very interested and a number of networking opportunities were made possible with respect to forging connections with the school's career-advice staff about possible related work experience/employment opportunities in my employer's organisation; so it was also an extremely worthwhile out-reach opportunity from a corporate perspective and it enhanced my employer's reputation in the community too; so all good!"

Michael Attended the Lakes School, Windermere in July 2012  

Post Event Comments:  

Bee Bots Workshop - Emma Cochrane - Jacobs UK Ltd - May 2013

I recently joined Jo (STEM Cumbria), Aidan and Richard (Nuclear Graduates) at Flimby Primary School for a 1 day Bee Bots Workshop. Flimby Primary School is a lovely village school set right on the Solway coast in Cumbria and it was great to meet the children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Bee Bots are bee shaped wheeled robots that can be programmed with simple commands to move forwards, backwards and from left to right (or round in a continuous circle as demonstrated by some enthusiastic year 1 students)!  Once set up they can be programmed to follow a route around a floor mat to a destination of choice (the park and sweet shop seemed to be popular).

With the reception class, we made the decision to split the class up into smaller groups (around 5 students in each group). This worked particularly well as it meant that each student had either a teacher or STEM ambassador working with them. The progress they made was amazing. They listened beautifully to all the instructions and progressed through the challenge so well that they were programming the Bee Bots by themselves without the need for help.

All the students seemed to really enjoy the workshop and I don’t think I can ever remember having so much fun at school! Thank you Flimby Primary School for such a fun filled day, I would recommend this activity to any Primary School and STEM ambassador.

I was supported in this activity by being a STEM ambassador with Jacobs UK Ltd.

Feedback from Nuclear Grads' STEM Day at Furness Academy: 19 April from Brian Wood, BEP Co-ordinator and comments from Teacher at Furness Academy.

Your team did a fine job on 19 April at Furness Academy in delivering the STEM day to such a large group of students.
During the time I spent at the event I was impressed with how well all the Nuclear Grads worked with the young people and with the appropriateness of the activities you had devised.
 
I've spoken recently with Sue Martin at Furness Academy and she's provided me with her own feedback on the day as follows:
 
The Sellafield STEM day was a great success. The whole day was well organised and the students were engaged throughout. The tasks were well thought out and the four morning tasks were all very different and so kept them interested. The graduates interacted exceptionally well with the students. I never heard any of the usual responses…”I’m bored…this is boring…do I have to do this? etc” But there was a lot of…"This is cool…loads better than school work…can I do this again.” I would definitely like this to be an annual event for the Year 9s. The only thing I could possibly say that might make it better would be to have the groups all day and not some just for the morning. I realise it did give more students the chance to join in, but quite a few from the morning would have liked to have stayed for the afternoon session - especially when the prizes in the afternoon were so brilliant (helicopters!). Overall, an excellent day. Thank you! (Sue Martin)
 
Hope that you're pleased with this? From a BEP point of view, I'm keen to keep the link with next year's Nuclear Grads, so do please hand on my contact details. Good luck to you and your team with any activities you've got planned between now and the end of May. Brian Wood, BEP Co-ordinator

Victoria Junior School Science Week - 18th - 21st March 2013

A huge thank you to Sue, Mark, Tracey and Dan from BAE Systems who have been fantastic this week.  So good in fact that all the gokarts are built ahead of schedule, so sorry Greg and Steve but we will not be needing your services tomorrow.  But you are all invited to our little race off tomorrow at 1.45 if you would like to see the children putting all their hard work to good use.  It will only be on for 20 mins or so and if it rains we will postpone and let you know the new date.  I have told Wilma how grateful we are for your help and look forward to working with you again, the children loved it. The race off went really well this afternoon and Steve, Mark and Greg all came to watch. Quote from Pete Davison, Teacher

Renewable Energy Day - comment from Margaret Campbell, Teacher - St. Bernard's School20 Mar 2013

Hi Tony. Thank you for today.

I know that you must have put in a lot to make it happen. I really appreciate this Tony.

The pupils seemed to really enjoy the challenge and got a lot from the day! It was great to have an ambassador working with each team, especially because the pupils were working with equipment and concepts that were not part of their curriculum!

Thanks for bringing along so many helpers! Best wishes Margaret  

Bee Bot Workshops - Feb - March 2013 - Annie Jacobs - Nuclear Graduate

I have really enjoyed giving support to Jo Gill, from STEM Cumbria, at the series of 'Beebot' Workshops which she runs for children in their first few years of primary school. The workshops introduce the concept of programming. It is a real pleasure to watch Jo work with the pupils; she engages and holds their attention, and explains new ideas, pitched to just the right level. The children learn a lot, and as you watch them crawling around on the floor, shrieking, in pursuit of a little yellow and black bee robot, it is clear how much they enjoyment they take from it as well! 

Bee Bot Workshop - St. Pius X - 25th February 2013 - Jane Hunter - STEM Ambassador

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and found it very rewarding, as always. The staff at the school were lovely and it was great to observe Jo in action. After speaking to her about the robotics 'syllabus' I'd love to see her teaching this to Year 3 pupils when she talks about real-life applications.

Post Event feedback comments - STEM Ambassadors plus a teacher comment from Barrow Engineering Project STEM Challenge Days November 2012

FEEDBACK FROM BEP STEM CHALLENGE DAYS: NOVEMBER 2012 

Thanks so much to STEM Cumbria for aiding the recruitment of 30 Ambassadors for our events. The value-added they provide is enormous.  Brian Wood - Barrow Engineering Project Coordinator 

It was an excellent day! The kids were fantastic and a credit to their schools. Despite getting drenched, I don't think I've seen so much excitement as when the rockets were launched on the playground. Events like that are great to attend. They are great fun for the ambassadors as well as the children. I look forward to the next one next Monday. (Mark Casson, STEM Ambassador)

• This was the first time I'd done the raising water challenge, but as always it was an extremely enjoyable day. There were 29 pupils in attendance taken from both North and South sites. As always, the pupils were quiet with the usual initial reluctance to answer questions during the introductions and explanation of the days tasks. This soon faded once the challenge began with even those who initially appeared most reluctant becoming fully involved.

There were some really good ideas in the construction of the towers, with most teams realising that the introduction of triangles into structures strengthened them. All teams managed to build a car to transport the water 2 metres to the tower and all were successful in getting the water to the top of the tower, with 2 teams managing to get the water from the cup, down the chute and into the container.

As an Ambassador, again I really enjoyed the day. All the pupils were keen and had lots of ideas, most of which were tried out during the build phase. They were all keen to ask questions when they got stuck and were very responsive to suggestions of how their structures and pulley systems may be improved. Many thanks to Sue Smith (fellow Ambassador) for a most enjoyable day and to all the Academy staff who helped throughoutthe day. (John Postlethwaite, STEM Ambassador)

• This was my very first STEM day. The day went really well. It was very well planned by the organiser, Nigel, and the children we guided throughout the day seemed to really enjoy themselves. The children split themselves up into SIX small groups which ended up being girls and boys groups. Before the groups started the challenge the organiser gave the whole group a brief power point presentation about how Engineering plays a big part in our day to day lives. Along with the children I thoroughly enjoyed the day. It involved team working and forward planning to succeed. The last hour of the day involved testing the challenges individually. This was excellent fun and the children enjoyed the competitive banter. In a nut shell, "a brilliant day". (Jonathan Harrison, STEM Ambassador) 

• On the 13 November 2012 I took part in a STEM day working with Year 7 children at St.Bernards Catholic High School.   This day involved a group of approximately 60 children divided into groups of 3.  The task they were given was the making of a small car which had to travel down a ramp and hit a wall. The majority of the students participated in the activity with great enthusiasm and, with varying levels of success, all involved seemed to enjoy the occasion and get something out of it. I think that it felt very rewarding being a STEM Ambassador and seeing the students benefit from my help. It was also nice to visit my old school and would like do a similar activity sometime in the near future. (Dan Pepper, STEM Ambassador) 

• It was a great day yesterday. Firstly, I was impressed with the ability of the pupils as originally this was a year 9 task. They demonstrated great team working and problems solving skills and worked with real determination to achieve their goal. The task required lots of knowledge on forces and was quite a complex engineering challenge but the different skills of each individual were tested throughout the day! Nigel was great at helping the students with the task. The only places for improvement would be to explain the purpose of the task and maybe to put it into a ‘real-life’ working example to explain what types of engineering they are looking at i.e. structural/civil and the importance of these types of skills. It would have also been good to re-focus the students at several points in the day as some teams had split up and forgot what they were doing! Although not an engineer myself I enjoyed talking with the pupils and hearing their innovative ideas – and watching them materialise! (Laura Lake, STEM Ambassador) 

• Excellent day at Furness College! Although the teams (am/pm) were of the same age group studying the same topics, they were very different in their approach to the challenge. It was interesting to see how they worked together (or not as the case may have been). From my perspective, it gave me insight into the level of competence of those looking to seek work/apprenticeships within BAE, several of whom I will look out for. From a tutor point of view, Nigel was very knowledgeable and structured the day well, encouraging all the delegates to take part. If I were to change one thing, it would be for Nigel to allow the Ambassadors a moment to introduce themselves so that the students know who we are, where we are from and what experience we have. The students appeared to have a good day and I heard no adverse comments. Again, it would have been nice for Nigel to add a few minutes in at the end for the students to provide a little feedback. (Martin Mcleavy, STEM Ambassador) 

• The day went very well. Furness College staff had organised the room and groups to arrive at appropriate times, and organised lunch for us. (We found our own source of tea and coffee mid morning and mid afternoon). We had 32 students in the morning and 33 in the afternoon, a mixture of first year and second year students. Nigel introduced the challenge, which was to convey a ball from floor to table top, across the table and back to the floor on the opposite side, in a controlled way and with the minimum of human intervention using the ‘K’Nex’ kits (no motors). Paper and pencils were also provided.

Students were expected to plan, evaluate, fabricate, trial and demonstrate their mechanism. Nigel (and we two STEM ambassadors) engaged with groups, getting them to explain their ideas, encouraging them to develop them and trouble -shooting any small problems that arose. It was also an opportunity to engage in discussion of development of personal skills in preparation for job applications.

The atmosphere was cheerful, focused and constructive. Most teams engaged well with each other, but sometimes lacked structure in this. There was a lot of constructive dialogue between them (girls as well as lads) and many were receptive of the input from us. I asked some students to evaluate what they had gained from the event and they said team work, problem solving, thinking on your feet.

We also tried to encourage the students to see which solutions would be the most costly to build and which were the most simple and elegant.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was good to encourage the students as well as to talk with the BAE Ambassador and the College staff about their aspirations for the day. There were no behaviour issues and I was impressed with the number of students who thanked us and said goodbye as they left. (Kath Walley, STEM Ambassador) 

Comments from some school staff about Vattenfall Wind Challenge Event - supplied by Brian Wood, Barrow Engineering Project, Barrow In Furness:  

• Thanks for yesterday - it was really good. Nigel chopped and changed a few activities due to weather conditions which was great and shows he had good back up plans. It was nice to do a few different activities too as the pupils got to launch rockets in addition to racing their own car creations. The pupils loved launching their rockets and we had no behavioural issues all day (down to well behaved children from the feeder schools and high entertainment and engagement). I didn’t see anyone left out or struggling, so it was well pitched for primary. (Katie Galvaey, Teacher - St Bernard’s RC High School)

• "A challenging day for students, but very interesting working with a technology they hadn't experienced before." (Gillian Gordon, Furness Academy) 

• "Thoroughly enjoyed the day. The students found it challenging. A great activity." (Jackie Watson, Walney School)

• "The students said that they'd really enjoyed their day and also working with their Ambassador adviser." (Grace Mckinlay, St Bernard's Catholic High School) 

Comments from other Ambassadors: 

• "My first event as a STEM Ambassador. I really enjoyed the day. The information and activities were great and the students very responsive. Looking forward to the next event." (Jenna Storey)

• "Very well-presented and extremely worthwhile." (John Walmsley)    

Speed Networking event at Cartmel Priory School - Tom Higgs 

I lesson, present a summary back to the class and ourselves. The idea of this highly interactive session was to enable students to find out about the variety of career paths and jobs we actually work in, and that might be open to them, whilst also helping to build their team working and communication skills. All the students I met were enthusiastic for the task and very attentive right through the morning, which went by in a flash. There were some very good questions, not just about work but also about outside interests, leading to discussions on work / life balance and I think opening their eyes to great possibilities in STEM careers. 

If you get the chance to do this event you will find it is lively, rewarding, and an interesting relfection on your career so far. 

Allen Jesson - Vattenfall Wind Challenge Day 

I have just finished probably the best day I have experienced as a STEM ambassador. I would recommend this type of event to other ambassadors and I would personally support the event again in the future. The students were keen and enthusiastic, well mannered and a credit to themselves and their schools. Being able to work on real problems they could relate to was one of the key elements to the success of the day as well as being in mixed groups which again brought them into the real world. Thanks need to be given to Brian Wood (Barrow Engineering Project), Owen Belsey (Dowdales School) and Vattenfall for the leadership, organisation and provision of materials all of which were of the highest quality. 

Jenna Storey - BT Engineer - Vattenfall Wind Challenge Event 

The day began around 08:45. I arrived at the Forum 28 feeling a little apprehensive about what the day would entail, and nervous as this was my first event. On arriving I met the other STEM ambassadors, two from Sellafield and one from BAE systems and also the three engineers representing the Vattenfall Company.  All were lovely and after a coffee and meet and greet we were briefed about the days events by Owen Belsey, Dowdales School, Brian Wood, Barrow Engineering Project and Anne Parratt from Vattenfall, who were running the event. This was an insight into the challenges that the students would be taking part in throughout the day and made me feel more at ease as to what their expectations were of us as an Ambassador. 

At around 9.15 all the school children started to arrive and they were instructed to join a group. There were five schools from around the area participating, all with ten students from each. These were then split into teams of five, one student from each of the schools, and an ambassador was designated a group. In my group I had Emily, Molly, Josh, Aaron and Conner. Once everyone was settled the day began with a presentation and introduction to wind farm technology by Anne from Vatternfall. 

This was then followed by the first activity of naming parts within the wind turbine itself. This was a good ice breaker for the group as they were all shy and it gave them chance to interact. After getting the information on the correct answers and a short mid morning break, Owen gave further information on wind technology and continued into the second activity. 

This activity involved planning using various maps, where to locate a new wind farm. The considerations that the students had to take into account were depth of water, as this would determine the particular turbine installed, wind speed, as this would determine a capacity factor to for average costs, location within the sea, taking into account any current infrastructure, shipping routes, cables and rigs etc and also which power station the generated energy would feed back to. Once this was all plotted they then had to work out the installation costs, running costs, yearly income and then work out the total over twenty years. 

This was done three times and the farm with the highest profit was then plotted onto a larger scale map to compare later with the rest of the teams. This was a great insight into how well the children again interacted with each, and how each were willing to take on a designated role to help the task go smoothly.

After lunch the final activity was to use material to design and build a device which could install the cable that linked all the turbines. Again Owen briefed the students and gave them the factors to consider before handing this over to the teams. My team came up with a device which used a ploughing mechanism to lay the cable into the sand bed and to then use a hydraulic spring action to take the cable from the seabed into the J-bend pipes to feed back up and down again to the turbines so all could be connected. 

This was my first event and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing how the young students worked together to complete the activities they were doing, and seeing how well they understood each of the challenges. I also liked that at the end of the event, our individual feedback was asked and we were asked to choose one student from each of the groups, this was then discussed further and five students one from each school was awarded star student. I was very happy to see that one Aaron from my team was one of the ones who will be receiving this award and he very much deserved it. 

I am looking forward to future events and hope to participate in as many as possible. 

 

Gordon Turner: I attended the Academy last Tuesday and thought all the pupils were enthusiastic and enjoyed the challenges. The heavy rain did not dampen their spirits during the testing of the rockets, even though they were soaked through. 

One rocket went above the height of the school roof which was met with loud cheers. It was a great day for both pupils and ambassadors. 

Mark Casson: Having attended the 1st day at Ulverston Victoria High School, I had a fantastic day with the Year 8 students. It has encouraged me to get more involved with these school events. Unfortunately, my 2nd event was cancelled at Furness Academy on Monday 28th, but I will definitely be doing more again in the future. Also, a big thank you to Ahmed who had some great ideas to inspire what was a fantastic day!! 

Josh Holder: I enjoyed taking part in the 'rocket power' challenge day at Furness Academy. I thought that the kids were excellently behaved and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy the challenge. Ahmed from Young Engineers was enthusiastic and fun which encouraged the kids, and the ambassadors, to get stuck in. Would love to do another one. 

Carl Hill: I attended two events during the week in November and found them both enjoyable and worthwhile. Not only could I pass on my skills to the kids but I also learnt some skills myself. These sorts of events are really good for enhancing your communication.

I would just like to say thanks for all the effort that was made for putting on the events. 

Stu Walker: I attended the Walney School challenge day. The whole day was fantastic from the time I arrived through to the challenges that were set. The day was really well organised and with the enthusiasm that the children had for the day made it feel worthwhile that I gave up my time to attend. 

This is the 2nd time I’ve attended Walney School for these events and both experiences have left me wanting to do this again. 

John Postlethwaite: I attended Dowdales last Thursday as an Ambassador for the first time and really enjoyed the day and the experience as a whole. All the children were extremely enthusiastic by the end of the day. As always some were a bit quieter than others at the start, but overall they all seemed to have enjoyed the day and the challenges set. 

I will most definitely be volunteering for future events. I've already discussed the time away with my manager who, like myself, feels that input from those working directly in hands on areas of BAE should be a great benefit in terms of what the large majority of the audience is likely to experience at the start of their journeys into science, technology, engineering and maths after they finish education. 

Dan Robinson: I thought the days were really well planned out and covered enough for the full day. Also, it seemed that every child who I saw in the two days seemed to enjoy it, so overall I agree that it was a success! 

Helen Bircher: I thought the day went really well. I was very impressed with the organising of the day and Ahmed's adaptability when the fire alarms went off and he had to make up the time once the children were back in the hall. The children were a pleasure to work with and very enthusiastic. They showed this by coming back early from lunch to carry on with their work, without being asked to do so.   

Quote from STEM Ambassador - Keith Clarkson "I really enjoy my work as a STEM Ambassador, especially with Primary Schools. The children get very enthusiastic and engrossed in all the activities, as do a lot of the teachers, which I personally find very rewarding. Many schools do not have a good understanding of engineering or what engineers do, so I am happy that I can help introduce some simple ideas based around electrical engineering that young people can enjoy and learn from. All the schools that I have worked in recently seem to genuinely appreciate the slightly different approach that STEM Ambassadors can bring into the classroom." Keith Clarkson, STEM Ambassador

Quote from Ambassador - Rowan Matthews "Both Phil and I have had a fantastic day at Ashfield today. The children obviously enjoyed the challenge, demonstrated their ability to solve problems and had some fantastic ideas to put into their designs. Hopefully we have sparked an interest in STEM subjects and encouraged the students to think about science and engineering as a career." Rowan Matthews,  STEM Ambassador, REACT Engineering

Quote from Teacher - Ashfield Junior School "Thank you for sending Phil and Rowan in to school today (both STEM Ambassadors from REACT Engineering in Whitehaven).They were fantastic with the children (and me). It was a very good day and as a teacher it was great to see the kids going through so many design and engineering processes. If there is anything else like this available, please let me know, we are hungry for it! I believe that primary school children could be achieving a lot more, but that the opportunities rarely seem to arise.Once again, a huge thank you." Richard Bishop, Year 6 teacher and Science subject leader Ashfield Junior School

 

STEM Ambassador Profiles - click on the link below 

Name: Charlotte Bailey - Occupation: Laboratory Analyst - Sellafield Ltd 

Name: Thomas Reap - Occupation: Production Engineer - Tritech 

Name: Michael Fraser - Occupation: Senior Engineering Manager - BAE Systems

Name: Keith Garnett - Occupation: Ventilation System Engineer - Sellafield Ltd

Name: Joanne Dow - Occupation - Mechanical Production Technician - Tritech 

Name: Dr Michael Edmondson - Occupation: Business Manager and Senior Technologist at the National Nuclear Laboratory 

Name: Mark Casson - Occupation - Principal Project Engineer - BAE Systems 

Name: Jo Kight-Green - Senior Operations Support Advisor - Sellafield

Name: Jenna Storey - Occupation - Telephone Engineer - BT 

Name: Claire Jones - Occupation - Mechanical Project Engineer - Sellafield 

Name: Gordon Turner - Product and Audit Support Manager - BAE Systems 

Name: Daryl Williamson - Materials Engineer 

Name: Sarah Beard - Occupation: Senior Technical Advisor – Sellafield

Name: Jacky Chaplow - Occupation: Informatics Liaison Office CEH Lancaster 

Name: Jade Leonard - Occupation: Technical Specialist Trainee - Sellafield

 

 

 

“I was a little apprehensive stepping into Barrow Island Primary School to help run their ‘After School Science Club’ as I’d never been responsible for trying to teach kids before. But that feeling soon faded as we all got stuck into building our first project; an elastic band powered wheel! I guided them through the instructions and we measured, sawed and glued the kits together while I explained the principle of Potential Energy that powered the wheels…I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they understood everything I threw at them, and how inquisitive they all were.

Over the next weeks we built more objects, each trying to demonstrate a different scientific principle, from electric fan powered cars (highlighting Newton’s 3rd Law) to K’Nex bridges (showing structural dynamics). We even put together a programmable sensor based robot for the school to use for teaching basic programming skills (which was a great exercise for me as well, as I’m rubbish with robotics and electronics in general!). Overall I had a lot of fun interacting with the kids in our weekly sessions, and it turned a few of their heads when I said I built submarines for my day job, so hopefully I’ve encouraged a few more recruits for future STEM jobs.”

“I was a little apprehensive stepping into Barrow Island Primary School to help run their ‘After School Science Club’ as I’d never been responsible for trying to teach kids before. But that feeling soon faded as we all got stuck into building our first project; an elastic band powered wheel! I guided them through the instructions and we measured, sawed and glued the kits together while I explained the principle of Potential Energy that powered the wheels…I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they understood everything I threw at them, and how inquisitive they all were.

Over the next weeks we built more objects, each trying to demonstrate a different scientific principle, from electric fan powered cars (highlighting Newton’s 3rd Law) to K’Nex bridges (showing structural dynamics). We even put together a programmable sensor based robot for the school to use for teaching basic programming skills (which was a great exercise for me as well, as I’m rubbish with robotics and electronics in general!). Overall I had a lot of fun interacting with the kids in our weekly sessions, and it turned a few of their heads when I said I built submarines for my day job, so hopefully I’ve encouraged a few more recruits for future STEM jobs.”

 
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Tony Gill, Director

STEM Cumbria Ltd. Lane Farmhouse, Crooklands, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7NH.
Office: 015395 67101       Tony Gill Mobile: 07977 512 109      



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