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Cleantech day inspires students into STEM careers

Cambridge LaunchPad partners Cambridge Cleantech and Cambridge Regional College teamed up to deliver a cleantech focused project day for Year 6 students

On 1st November, 29 Year 6 students from Bar Hill Community Primary School were challenged to create their own eco-houses and were shown how clean technology is revolutionising the world of STEM careers at a Cambridge LaunchPad project day.

Upon arrival the students were split into four activity groups, and over the course of the day ambassadors from Cambridge Cleantech and BTEC students from Cambridge Regional College worked with students on a variety of hands-on activities.

As part of Cambridge Cleantech’s Greensoul project, students were encouraged to think about the amount of energy that is used when building our homes. In pairs, each team was given a selection of recycled materials and tasked to come up with an imaginative design for an energy-efficient eco-house. Ideas included solar panels and wind turbine for an alterntive energy source, eco-friendly insulation to cut down on electric or gas heating and furniture made from recycled materials.

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The aim of the day was to educate and enthuse the students about how clean technology is currently being used and the possibilities available within the industry. Cambridge LaunchPad, finalists in the recent Cambridge Independent Science & Technology awards, aim to give the younger students an opportunity to interact with those who have chosen a STEM related education pathway, encouraging them to consider the range of options available to them when thinking about their future. By providing inspiring role models and motivating young people to consider a future in STEM, Cambridge LaunchPad supports the growing demand for skilled professionals within the Greater Cambridgeshire area.

Zoe Sproule, Year 6 Teacher at Bar Hill Community Primary School, said: “Showcasing careers available in STEM can be challenging with time constraints in the classroom. It has been amazing to see the children who can struggle at school, experience another pathway for their future education.”

Further activities were run by BTEC students currently studying construction at Cambridge Regional College. Year 6 students worked with the ambassadors to test their design and problem-solving skills over a number of activities. Architecture teachers led the teams to think about creating a structurally stable tower from spaghetti and marshmallows and Engineering teams produced and tested electronic cars made from recycled bottles. In addition, the students showcased their creativity in planning and pitching a selection of video games. Each team were given a random selection of BAFTA Young Games Designers cards which contained features for their design; setting, rules, characters, aim and a wild card to test their flexibility to adapt a plan last minute.

Throughout the day students were encouraged to develop their Cambridge LaunchPad core values, ‘soft skills’ such as communication, teamwork, creativity and imagination. The team of students who best displayed their understanding of these skills were selected to attend the annual award ceremony that is held at the end of the academic year.

Sylvie Russel, Operations Manager, Greensoul, said: “Today has been fantastic to share some of the work we are doing on the Greensoul project around energy efficiency with such an enthusiastic group of students.

Niall Inman, Lecturer at Cambridge Regional College said: “Todays workshop provided a real insight in to what we offer at CRC. The students worked really hard to complete a number of STEM activities which tested their existing skills and knowledge whilst introducing new skill sets and theories. We hope to see many of these students again following the completion of their GCSEs.”

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