One of a number of Big Bang events put on across Scotland in June for secondary pupils, the two days offered ‘marketplace’ sessions covering a wide range of STEM sectors, including construction and engineering, health care, food and drink technology, digital, science and maths. Popular interactive activities were Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality, drones, and programmable ‘Dash’ robots. One pupil said the VR headsets were his favourite activity, enthusing about his ‘score of the day’ on the virtual welder.
Among the inspiring and engaging 90 minute workshops on offer were Bloodhound rocket car racing, programmable Lego Mindstorm robots, RAF Operation X, Microsoft Ltd, and MTa STEM kits. Wendy Findlay of Energy Skills Partnership (ESP), took the groups through the MTa STEM kit, which was recently trialled by Borders STEM teachers at the College’s Construction Hub in Tweedbank.
The inaugural event was organised by Borders College in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Borders and ESP, all of whom were delighted by the uptake.
The College’s Engineering department also offered a fun pit-stop challenge using the Greenpower electric race car (styled like the bat mobile!) allowing pupils to try their hand at a timed wheel change, a challenge they also took to the Big Bang Scotland event in Perth earlier in the month. One pupil was delighted to be the fastest to complete the wheel change in her group.
Other exhibitors hosting activities and demonstrations included the University of Strathclyde, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Skills Development Scotland, and Scottish Borders Youth Voice, who were raising awareness of the Year of Young People. Local employer Farne Salmon showcased activities including engineering problem solving and a crossbow shooting challenge, as well as giving pupils an insight to the potential employment opportunities available to them in the future. Pupils could even be seen walking around with dry peas in their shoes as part of the healthcare session, designed to demonstrate what it would feel like to live with arthritis.