Science activities to capture young imaginations

The ranking of UK STEM education within OECD countries is falling year on year, despite the heroic best efforts of our teachers. Using the rankings and scores from 2009, 2012 and 2015 (above), the UK has fallen from 22nd to 27th in Maths and from 11th to 15th in Science.
Why is this bad news? The UK already has huge shortages of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians - and this in a world that is taking giants leaps in technology.
Our falling ranking means we are losing our competitive grip on the future and our children are going to be under-qualified for this brave new world. 

The aspiration behind the inspiration
So I am trying to make a small difference by presenting great fun science activities to young people, both independently and as part of the STEMNET STEM Ambassadors scheme. 
The aim is to inspire children before they say "I can't do science", giving them a fun memory of a science-based topic that will stay with them. Then, when STEM subjects come up in a more formal context, some of the children might recall the fun they had and give it a go, rather than just dropping the subject to do something easier. 
I like to think of this as accidental learning; it's not pretending to be teaching - think of it as more of a fireworks display; and we all like those, right? Maybe we don't remember every detail of the display, but we definitely remember that we like fireworks!

I provide STEM activities for local schools and at the Latitude Festival Kids Area. I am a member of the STEMNET STEM Ambassadors scheme, a trustee with the William & Ellen Vinten Trust and I lecture at Womens Institute meetings.
Please get in touch and let me know what you think - enquiries about STEM activities can also be made via the local Ambassador hub.
Derek Langley
Husband, Dad, Design Engineer, STEM Ambassador, Person; 
in no particular order.
Our Tiny World and Rocketude!
Children are spending more time with grandparents these days, so I am trying to stimulate science conversations in the home by talking to WIs and schools around Bury St Edmunds.
Latitude Festival Kids Area
Every year, record numbers of young people make and launch paper rockets high into the summer sky at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, with occasional stargazing sessions for the late-nighters.
Telescope project
I acquired and refurbished a very large 1960s Newtonian telescope and donated it to a local school in Bury St Edmunds. There is now a lively stargazing school club and hopefully it will become something accessible to many children in the area.  

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK

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