East Kent Science Jamboree 5th & 6th June 2017  – Discovery Park

A Science Extravaganza for Primary Schools

We were fortunate to be invited to attend the East Kent Science Jamboree at Discovery Park, Sandwich today.

The event, hosted by South East STEM Ambassadors has been inspiring Year 6 pupils to engage with science and engineering for quite some time.

The original event hosted by Pfizers began in 1995 and has evolved to include more exhibits and interactive learning stations and caters for more schools every year.

As we walked around it was an absolute joy to see the students really engaging with the tasks, asking questions and the excited chatter was heart-warming. The children were a credit to their respective schools – well behaved and courteous. It was just lovely to see children being children whilst learning new things.

There were 15 interactive activities for the pupils covering a wide range of topics as well as a science show.

  • Activity 1 The Secret Code of Life Covered the intricate nature of DNA and the children extracted their own samples of DNA from kiwi fruit.
  • Activity 2 Racing StripesChromatography separates substances and the children raced their favourite colours up paper using the techniques.
  • Activity 3 Chase the Rainbow – Creating colours using light and chemicals. The children added water to Skittles to observe the diffusion of the food dye.
  • Activity 4 Ferro Fantastic – The children learnt about Ferrofluid and its attraction to neodymium magnets and experimented using magnets and iron filings.
  • Activity 5 Mini Monster Biology The children used microscopes to examine tiny worms, tarantula and scorpion skins and tried to match the tarantula hair to the particular spider.
  • Activity 6 Red Buses go Green – Siemens are making London buses environmentally friendly. Children learnt about Hybrid buses and made their own model whilst considering how long it would take a team to change all of London’s buses to Hybrids.
  • Activity 7 Floating Fluids & Liquid Layers – The children worked in groups to determine which liquids would float on top of others based on the densities of the liquids provided.
  • Activity 8 Voltage Vegetables – The children measured the voltage produced by different fruits and vegetables and metal combinations to try and illuminate a lightbulb.
  • Activity 9 Let it Snow! The children added measured quantities of water to sodium polyacrylate to investigate what happened to make it like snow.
  • Activity 10 Doc Yard’s Hair Raising Zone – The children carried out experiments with static electricity and saw what a Van Der Graaf generator can do!
  • Activity 11 Hot or Cold – The children used thermal imaging cameras to recognize the difference between endo and exothermic chemical changes and detect the hot and cold spots of their own bodies.
  • Activity 12 The Nuclear Explorers – The children played a 3D virtual reality game to build and run a nuclear reactor by controlling virtual components robotically while learning a little about nuclear power and what it takes to run a power station.
  • Activity 13 Blast Off! Using everyday kitchen ingredients, the children worked together to construct a rocket which was launched by the demonstrators. Before this they observed acid-based reactions in test tubes to decide which solid would make the best rocket fuel!
  • Activity 14 Seashore Science – They learnt how to complete a beach clean and how to identify different skates and rays around our coast as well as their egg cases.
  • Activity 15 – What’s Wrong with Tom? The children learnt about the commercial growth of tomatoes and the environment they are grown in and any potential problems the plants face. They carried out tests to identify what was killing the tomato plants, measured pH, looked for bee activity and examined leaves for nutrient deficiency.
  • Science Show ‘Science…The Best Bits’ The children saw demonstrations of gravity, static electricity and learnt about meteors, shooting stars and where we are in the universe, followed by some awesome facts about dinosaurs, monster and animals.

We found it particularly inspiring to see students volunteering their time and expertise to help our year 6 pupils. Primary Education PGCE students from Canterbury Christchurch University were teaching the Voltage Vegetables activity; East Kent College students were assisting and teaching the Floating Fluids and Liquid Layers activity and pupils from Dover College were assisting Rosie and her father, Mr Baldwin, with the What’s Wrong with Tom? So much confidence and passion for science in those activities and the amount of work invested in preparing them was very clear in how well they were received by the schools.

The excellent work seen at the event is extended by the services offered to our schools and community. For schools who do not have the facilities to carry out experiments or the space to do so, some of STEM Ambassadors below offer ‘Lab in a Box ‘ or a lab at Discovery Park to do this. We will be writing a separate article all about the work of STEM Ambassadors but if you would like more information for your school please visit their website.

I have a special love for this event and can vouch for the profound effect the jamboree has on young children because I attended the very first one in 1995. It left a lasting impression on me. I still remember it and was over the moon to know that our children still have the opportunity to be inspired by science as I was. I remember, the scientist showing us how glow in the dark wristbands work and why they need to be snapped to activate the chemicals inside. I only learnt the word ‘chemiluminescence’ thanks to the East Kent Science Jamboree…and I’ve never forgotten it.

The event is sponsored by STEM Ambassadors who are companies who offer their knowledge, time and equipment on both days for free – to help our children. On behalf of our community, we would like to thank the following for their efforts, they really are appreciated:

Kent and Medway STEM
Unilabs York Bioanalytical Solutions
Venom Tech  
Canterbury Christchurch University
East Kent College
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
EDF Energy
Kent Wildlife Trus
A Pearson Growers Ltd
DoScience Ltd
Discovery Park