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Science Museum spectacular hits the road

Kate Hunter from the Science Museum performs the flour shower to demonstrate how carbohydrates provide a quick release of energy

London’s internationally acclaimed Science Museum is taking pupils from nine Cumbrian schools on a journey this month that they will never forget.

Members of the museum’s outreach team are demonstrating the wonders of the human body in a roadshow touring secondary schools across the county.

The 45-minute It Takes Guts show, described as a ‘gross, squirm-inducing demonstration of why poo is brown’ and which features video footage of people’s insides, and the museum’s Medical Marvels workshops will be reaching 4,300 young people.

Medical Marvels, 60-minute workshops, are also taking place and see pupils exploring the fascinating world of health and medicine and seeking to answer questions such as how we can prevent pandemics, what it takes to become a surgeon and could we be immortal one day? From medieval potions to 3D printed organs, students are handling a range of objects too.

The roadshow is being brought to the schools by University of Cumbria as part of a wider range of initiatives to encourage more students to study science to A-level, BTEC and beyond and returns following a successful 2019 tour.

This year’s tour is visiting Queen Elizabeth School and QEStudio, Kirkby Lonsdale; Carnforth High School; Ulverston Victoria High School; Kirkbie Kendal School, Kendal; Keswick School; Caldew School, Dalston; Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith; William Howard School, Brampton; and Trinity School, Carlisle.

The university champions science higher education across the region as part of widely shared aims to address shortages of science and engineering graduates in the county. Jobs in these fields are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations in the coming years.

Supported by the Sir John Fisher Foundation, University of Cumbria is promoting science and related subjects among children and young people from diverse backgrounds through a series of initiatives such as the visiting Science Museum roadshow, Primary and Secondary Engineers Leaders award and First LEGO League school competitions, workshops, masterclasses, festivals of biology and chemistry, and public events.

Nigel Smith, STEM co-ordinator, University of Cumbria

Nigel Smith, STEM co-ordinator at University of Cumbria, said: “We are delighted to be bringing back the Science Museum outreach team to the county following last year’s successful tour.

“University of Cumbria and partners are working collaboratively together to address the widely acknowledged skills gap in Cumbria at a time when it is known that the demand for graduates with science related skills is rising.

“Our focus is to open school children’s eyes to the possibilities available to them here in Cumbria and we want our young people to know that they can study science subjects to a higher level on their doorstep without leaving the county.”

QEStudio Principal Alison Wilkinson said “We were delighted to host a visit from the Science Museum and the University of Cumbria as part of their STEM Roadshow in Cumbria.  Our students really enjoyed the opportunity to explore medical marvels during these interactive and engaging workshops.”

The roadshow stops in Dalston on Monday (27 Jan).

Phil Brown, head of science at Caldew School, Dalston, said: “We recognise as a school that STEM subjects are at the forefront of what business leaders across the county are looking for from their future workforce. We aim to prepare our students through our careers advice and guidance with the skills and qualifications so that they can plan for their futures. We are proud that a large majority of our sixth form students opt to study in STEM subjects and this event will be a fun, but informative event to get our students thinking.”

Over the last five years the university has expanded its science portfolio. Investing £3.5m in science laboratories, it now offers programmes in biomedical science, microbiology, geography, zoology, applied chemistry and marine and freshwater conservation that complement well-established courses in forensic science and animal conservation science.

Discover more about the science programmes the university offers here.

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