ROUND 8,000 students felt the full power of an inspiring learning experience delivered by experts at London’s renowned Science Museum.
The React Foundation’s annual Science and Engineering Shows have been hosted in-person for the first time in three years following the Covid-19 pandemic and their return proved a huge hit with students across West Cumbria as Science Museum staff announced their hugely exciting “Feel the Force” and “It Takes Guts” pop up in the North.
The shows, run by the Foundation, the non-profit organization of Cumbrian company React Engineering, were carried through schools and colleges across West Cumbria to enable as many pupils as possible to take part in the free activities, which are primarily aimed at 5th graders judging up to 6th grade 9.
During the interactive shows, Senior Explainers from the Science Museum’s outreach team demonstrated how forces such as gravity, magnetism, and friction work.
Pete Woolaghan, Chair of the React Foundation, said: “Since 2007 we have been inspiring school children to learn more about STEM subjects through the live science and engineering shows, but we have not been able to host them live since 2019 due to Covid-19, although we have done some online shows for students.
“The Foundation was established to provide more opportunities for our local young people to engage in science and technology, and running these shows in a fun, informative and exciting format always helps inspire people to learn more to want.
“By getting young people to interact with the shows, what they are taught can stay with them throughout their lives and it’s important that we offer these events to show them that learning can be fun can.”
The science shows ran for a total of two weeks, with elementary and high schools in the area signing up to enjoy the free shows.
The Science Museum team spent the entire fortnight in Cumbria and were delighted with the participation of the students – and the teachers.
Chloe Wiles, Senior Explainer at the Museum, said: “There are many different ways to learn, and it’s not always just in the classroom. I was a visual learner when I was young and attending shows and performances like this has always helped my education.
“We are here to show that learning about science can be fun and really interesting. So what’s better than going to another school, getting loud and loud and participating in the activities?
“Participation encourages young people to learn more about STEM subjects and it is very important to us to reach out to children early so that they will want to continue learning as they grow older.”
Feedback from participating schools was overwhelmingly positive, with teachers reporting that their children loved the interactive elements of the shows – and had already asked for more classroom demonstrations and experiments.
Rebecca Crowther, Year 6 teacher at Seascale Primary School said: “It was a really fun show and our students were really engaged from the start. They all took part in the activities that were presented in a very dynamic way.
“The students have learned about forces as part of the curriculum and events like this really bring it closer to them and show the forces at work in a really powerful way.”
The React Foundation’s annual Live Science Shows are supported by a range of partners including the University of Cumbria and RWE, which operates the nearby Robin Rigg offshore wind farm.
Mike Edwards, General Manager of Robin Rigg, said: “It has been fantastic to see the React Foundation Live Science and Engineering Show bring science to life for children across the region. The interactive show was well presented, lively, educational and entertaining.
“RWE has always strived to bring STEM to a wider community and we have been committed to the React Foundation for more than a decade. We believe it’s really important to bring science to life for all children so they can understand the world around them and envision a future in STEM.
“The energy the React team brings to improving science education for such a large group of children is exemplary and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.”
The React Foundation was established in 2004 by Cleator Moor-based React Engineering to spark ambition in young people and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Foundation hosts various events and activities throughout the year and also provides annual scholarships to secondary school students studying STEM subjects.
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