By Adrian Fenton, Head of Education & Ellie Chambers, Project Officer

The first Discovery Friday showcase took place on the 13 March at The Big Bang Fair, and it was a huge success!

Discovery Friday is a showcase of schools and STEM clubs from across the country that have undertaken the British Science Association’s CREST Discovery Awards or similar, presenting fun and exciting projects in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). 

Some projects involve large groups of students, others impressively completed in just a day, the showcase highlighted the many schemes and resources out there to get started with project work, and realise that science is something everyone can enjoy!

The CREST Awards, in partnership with The Big Bang Fair (supported by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills), offered 14 schools and academies the opportunity to present their work to thousands of visiting schools, businesses and VIPs at the Fair.

The busy day started with groups arriving from 7:30am at the venue and setting up their stands and presentations in the Go Global zone. Even though we had only asked for a poster presentation, almost all of the groups had brought with them models, equipment and even some sweets to further engage their visitors. Each group produced amazing posters and presentations. Take a look at the Discovery Friday stands on the CREST Awards Facebook page
Once the show floor opened, the project care volunteers; students who had participated in the National Science + Engineering Competition in previous years; encouraged the Discovery Friday students to write a sentence stating what they would say to a visitor to encourage them to try a practical project in STEM. There were some fantastic entries, but the volunteers picked this quote by Iwo as their winner.

“I think people should have a go at hands on science and STEM, as STEM gives people an understanding of science around them in action. I believe this is a great way to give young people an understanding of science around them. This is a much better way of learning than reading textbooks as textbooks don’t really show what science is about.”

The displays were extremely impressive, with a variety of team challenges and approaches nurturing the creativity of the fledgling participants. Weston Flavell Academy’s eye catching full size Warhorse was a great illustration of science crossing boundaries with culture and art, whilst Chipping Camden School drew a crowd with their science communication busking through their participation in the Ogden Trust supported cluster competition. Moreover, tomatoes were being transported applying engineering to a global scenario, as Woodrush High School demonstrated their models for Practical Actions ‘Squashed Tomato Challenge’. 

During lunch, the students wandered around the Fair and in the early afternoon they were given a goody bag, which was supported by a large number of our CREST partners, such as VEX Robotics, Talent 2030, Thames Tideway Tunnel and Tomorrow’s Engineers.

To end the day, students made their way down the red carpet, into a special edition of Stefan Gates ‘Supertasters’ show at The Big Bang Stage. Whilst on the red carpet, the students were awarded their Discovery Friday medals and certificates as well as their goody bag.
Student and teachers alike really enjoyed Stefan’s fascinating show about senses. One teacher commented: “The students LOVED it and are still buzzing about it today! It was a great opportunity for them and the extra touches made the day extra special for them. As teachers it was lovely to spend the day celebrating science with our students!”

We look forward to the opportunity to run Discovery Friday again next year –watch this space!