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Science and technology is now ‘cool’ at school, as hundreds visit BT Adastral Park, Martlesham

PUBLISHED: 16:47 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:47 14 March 2017

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Left to right: Angelo Darrell and Tristan Kendall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Left to right: Angelo Darrell and Tristan Kendall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk science teacher believes the growing positive attitude among students towards science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects will lead to more home-grown engineers in the future.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Woody Hilton. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Woody Hilton. Picture: GREGG BROWN

In support of British Science Week, more than 1,500 primary and secondary school students from Suffolk are visiting BT Adastral Park in Martlesham this week for a practical and interactive event promoting Stem subjects.

“The event has been fantastic and the kids have got really stuck in,” said Ambra Calver, a teacher of science and Stem coordinator at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.

“It’s really abstract at school, thinking ‘I want to be an engineer or a scientist’. But days like these really bring it all together for them, and science is definitely becoming more part of the media and topical now. It is becoming cool to be a scientist.

“The technology that surrounds us is making it more approachable. Students can get involved with Facebook and other media platforms and see how they work. At school, they understand how facial recognition works. A lot more work we do in school now can be seen in the outdoor environment.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“No-one really heard of Stem subjects until two years ago. Now it is definitely becoming more part of the curriculum. In the new GCSEs, they have a STEM section which they want us to explore. Hopefully this will become part of the norm.”

Just over 60 Suffolk schools will visit the event this week.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A stimulating environment greets students at the Stem in Industry event at BT Adastral Park in Martlesham.

There are morning and afternoon sessions for the 60-plus schools – one fifth of Suffolk schools – this week. Some students are about to decide on their GCSE future.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Harvey Wilkinson. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Harvey Wilkinson. Picture: GREGG BROWN

After an introductory lecture, small groups are led between the different themed-zones. There is the ‘Heritage and Today’ area, featuring codebreaking exercises, a fibre-optic demonstration, the history of telephones, and a ‘The Price is Right’ game testing pupils’ mathematical skills (the internet costs an individual user £58,000).

There were interactive x-rays in the Pulse area, 3D printers from the University of Suffolk and a Samsung representative in the Tomorrow in Action area, apps which lock and unlock front doors in ‘Home 2.0’ (you can also see a timeline of family members who have come home), and other hands-on, interactive Stem-based activities.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Left to right: Bruno Hargaden and Olive Violette. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Left to right: Bruno Hargaden and Olive Violette. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“It’s about inspiring the next generation,” said Pam Popay, community engagement program manager at BT Adastral Park.

“We are preparing kids for jobs that we don’t know yet exist. We showed them a video made in the 1960s of what the view of the 1990s was going to be. Some of it is kind of true: there is video telephony – Skype and Facetime – but there is no mention of computers, the internet, mobile phones or printers. So we don’t know what the jobs are going to be or the technology.

Stem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Thomas Attridge. Picture: GREGG BROWNStem in Industry schools event at BT in Martlesham. Pictured is Thomas Attridge. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“But STEM subjects give you all of the skills you need to do for what those jobs are going to be. All that practical thinking is a huge help.”

2 comments

  • Fair point TollFace, although hopefully this could encourage kids into STEM subjects when they realise that it is these subjects that directly help to make the technology these devices rely so heavily on. The University of Suffolk could become a real specialist in these areas linking very well with Adastral Park and on towards Cambridge and London

    Report this comment

    IpswichBristol

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

  • We need more kids in stem subjects as the UK seems to be falling behind. All kids care about is the new iPhone app.

    Report this comment

    TrollFace

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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