The Big Bang Fair proved to be a great inspiration. The largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK certainly lived up to its explosive name.
At school the subjects which engaged me were arts based – English, music and art were particular curriculum favourites. The twists and turns of Cathy and Heathcliff’s heartache in Wuthering Heights fascinated me; the surrealist genius of Dali thrilled me; and the variety of music which I could both play and listen to engaged me.
Therefore, it came as some what of a surprise that this fabulous fair made me feel so excited and inspired.
The day began with Guinness World Records: Science Live. It woke us all up after a 7.00 start as it felt a like the final gig of a rock arena tour! Loud and exciting records were attempted including sticking someone to a wall for 2 minutes using only gaffa tape. All of the records were linked back to Science and the show was accessible and entertaining whether you were 4 or 104!
This raucous beginning was fun but it was the substance and contagious enthusiasm throughout the exhibition space which truly inspired.
Delightful and inspiring staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College London and King’s College Hospital demonstrated how to be a healthcare hero. The idea was to showcase a range of careers in healthcare through interactive and memorable activities. Pupils were able to interact with, treat, heal and ‘save the lives’ of human patient simulators. These computer controlled manikins could breathe and talk.
Pupils worked as a team to treat and save the life of a patient, the hands on nature of this activity could well have inspired a true healthcare hero of the future. Memorable moments like these could be pivotal in the educational life of a young person; going beyond the realms of the classroom brought them as close to a real life situation as you can get in the healthcare profession.
Young people engage with a topic when it becomes tangible, touchable. Another way to inspire, is to add an element of competition. Therefore, when pupils spotted their peers with ‘free’ Rubik’s cubes, one question was always going to be asked: How can I get one?
Healthcare Heroes were inspiring the next generation of healthcare professionals; in contrast pupils were being engaged by and drawn to a company called ARM.
Bright graduates were ready to chat to us about the merits of ARM. With great interest pupils listened and then set about winning their Rubik’s Cube. I was inspired to see 10 and 11 year olds deftly manoeuvring their way around a series of programming challenges. Using Scratch (which runs on the ever popular ARM-based Raspberry Pi) pupils showed off their skills with ease.
Of course the gifting of Rubik’s cubes was continuous all afternoon!
This was just an hour of a very busy day and interesting school trip. Yet the fact that I am still left feeling inspired and eager is testament to how important events like this are.
65,000 visitors were amazed and excited in March 2013 at The Big Bang Fair. I wonder how many, as a result, will save lives, will innovate and design, will play an integral part in developing the technology of the future.