Last week (13 – 16 March) IET staff and volunteers put on a range of fun, hands-on activities designed to enthuse young people of all ages about the possibilities of careers in engineering and technology.
The Big Bang Fair is Europe’s largest engineering fair for young people. Now in its eleventh year, it welcomes a staggering 80,000 visitors over four days at the NEC, Birmingham. Our volunteers’ enthusiasm about their jobs was as infectious as ever and young people, their teachers and parents were drawn to the stand to find out more about how they can get involved with the IET’s programmes and activities.
This year, the IET stand showcased the Education 5-19 team’s work with activities covering the FIRST® LEGO® League programmes, Faraday Challenge Days and coding activities carried out by some of our own volunteer IET Schools Liaison Officers.
As well as trying their hand at some of this year’s space-themed FIRST® LEGO® League robot missions, younger visitors also had a taste of the newest of the programmes - FIRST® LEGO® League Jr Discovery for 4-6-year-olds, which launches this year.
The IET’s Faraday Challenge Days were represented by this year’s challenge partner – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The spiritual successor to the Hubble, JWST will use a series of Infra-red cameras and a specially designed segmented mirror to look into the coldest and oldest parts of our universe. Visitors to the IET’s stand had the chance to use a small hand held infra-red camera to explore how different objects give off heat and how we can use this technology to learn about the universe.
The coding activities were also a huge hit this year with young people of all ages – and our volunteers – competing to use physical coding blocks to code a character to eat as many strawberries as possible.
David Lakin, Head of IET Education 5-19, said: “All in all, as I’m sure our volunteers would agree, it was a jam-packed, fun-filled and rewarding four days – it was great to see so many budding engineers wanting to take part in our activities. I’d like to say a massive thank you to our amazing team of volunteers.”
The Big Bang Fair takes place every year at the NEC, Birmingham in March. We’re always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you’re in the Birmingham area and interested in helping out next year, the IET Education team would love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.