FIFTY pupils from Bulford St Leonard’s primary school, part of Salisbury Plain Academies enjoyed more than 100 interactive exhibits covering all sorts of scientific wonders and theories at the Winchester Science Centre this week.
The Year 3 and 4 students made a tornado and followed different foods through the ‘grossest’ restaurant ever, the “colon cafe” to find out what the foods do to your gut bacteria.
The children also tried their hands at running, jumping, rowing, wheelchair basketball and balancing to understand the science of sport.
In another section of the centre, the primary pupils recorded and distorted their voices; confused their minds in the ‘Little Big Room’, where people appear to shrink and grow; and played with all sorts of weights, pulleys, circuits and gears.
Frances Salter, ICT subject leader at the Bulford school said: “The workshops on electrical circuits were particularly useful, because the themes fit with the children’s current curriculum topic in science.
“The children had a variety of different circuits to look at and then work out if a component was faulty, or how they might change the direction of a motor and more.”
The visit coincided with the publication of a new report stating that parents need to do more to encourage primary school children to love science and maths. The report is the result of a survey by Mathworks who questioned STEM (science technology, engineering and maths) professionals on the reasons behind the UK’s STEM skills shortage.
When asked to consider their own experiences; 40 per cent said they were inspired to love the subjects by their families and 19 per cent knew they wanted to follow a STEM profession by the time they were 10 years old. 46 per cent had made the decision by the age of 16.
38 per cent of these professionals believe schools aren’t producing people with the STEM skills that society needs, even though half said that the teaching STEM-related subjects has improved since they were in school.
On the question of who should do the encouraging, most respondents agreed that the emphasis for turning out future STEM professionals shouldn’t be placed on educators alone and that families and the industry should take on a greater responsibility.
Helen Mathieson, Interim CEO at Salisbury Plain Academies, said: “Science is an endless source of fascination for children.
“As an academy trust, we want to help build scientific thinkers, and increase accessibility to science; the Winchester Space Centre very much encourages that – it’s in easy travelling distance, and, for the children the change of venue is exciting, it’s not a classroom, it’s a large, stimulating space where children are engaged, challenged and inspired.”
Quotes from the children:
I liked the mind-control ball because you could control it with your mind. Isabelle aged 8
I liked pulling the rope with the weights. I learnt that some weights appear heavier than others. It inspired me to become a scientist because if I became a scientist I could help the world. Logan aged 7
I learnt that different foods are healthier than others. Max aged 8
I thought it was really good. I liked the ‘echo – room’. Erin was really scared of it. Pip aged 7
I liked the different sports activities – you could make your own athlete. Oliver aged 7
There were lots of things to do and the people were there to help us. Kaitlyn aged 7
I am really interested in science – you can learn a lot there. Carmel aged 8