The Big Bang Fair by Students

  • Wed,27 Mar 2019 08:32:29 AM

British Asia News Network

Sushma Lobo

London: In the UK there is a need to increase the number of students pursuing careers in Science, Engineering and Technology. What better way to do it than to expose young students to projects which can inspire them and others to enter into the industry. This year the Big Bang Fair brings you science, technology, engineering and maths to the NEC Birmingham 13-16th March 2019. Finalists compete for over £20,000 worth of amazing prizes, including top and runner-up prizes in the junior, intermediate and senior categories for science and engineering, as well as the coveted titles of GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year and GSK UK Young Scientist.

We followed a group of girls from Rugby High School as they took their place in the finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientist and Engineering competition.

The group had designed an Eco hotel for Go4SET initially. Go4SET links teams of six Year 8/9 (England) and S2 (Scotland) pupils with employers and universities to offer a 10 week Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Project. They then went onto the CREST Awards at regionals last year and they won and were awarded The People’s Choice awards. They were as a result invited to the finals at the Big Bang National competition. Around 40,000 students in the UK gain CREST Awards every year through investigations and enquiry-based learning, supporting them to solve real-life STEM challenges. 

Susan Mighall head of Physicsat Rugby High school said “The whole event is really fun and really excites the students to see what interesting diverse career paths their studies of STEM subjects can take them in”. 

One team comprising of Dhruvika Talati, Becca Cowie, Lucia Virdi, Jessica Bryn and Suzanna Pyne qualified for the final thanks to their ‘Eco Hotel’ project. They researched designed a Eco Hotel with environmentally-friendly architectural features such as solar panels, wind turbines, ground source heating, light tubes and various other designs which conserve heat, electricity and water. They built two models for architects to show clients the various eco-features they could incorporate into their buildings.

Dhruvika tells us that “The team created a main building hotel lobby room model, comprising of adining room, lobby, kitchen and a bedroom pod model containing a complete on suite 2 bedroom hotel suite with a Jack and Jill bathroom. The model feature eco features throughout which can be used by people creating new homes to make them energy efficient”. 

Becca explained how water recycling works, “the reed bedsystem was designed- it’s a place where the waste and toilets go and get drained into a septic tank and filter through layers of stone and gravel so it’s actually cleaner water and then pumped out into a settlement pond which is then clean water which you can use for flushing the toilet”.

Jessica said “the project is used in a architects office it’s not just displayed in our school, it’s also being used for general public and clients to see what features they may like in a local Architects office”.

Suzanna tell us how natural products like sheep’s wool is sued in the project “In our hotel we have sheep wool insulation which allows the heat to stay in and less energy to be used on heating and air conditioning making it more eco-friendly”.

Jessica explains the journey they have and how the students eco project features are actually used to explain to real clients wanting to have eco features in their homes or businesses “After winning the regional we were upgraded to Gold CREST so since then we created a eco financial booklet which contains a summary of every eco feature, the cost and payback time. This is used in a architect’s office for clients to select features.

“Since the upgrade to Gold Crest and winning the regional we were awarded the people’s choice awards and now we came to the finals at the NEC and are very excited, Dhruvika tells us.

Competition is divided up into science and engineering, core prizes being engineering genius engineering seniors juniors and intermediate and then the same categories for science with 30 different prizes ranging from an experience prize to a travel abroad prize to cash.

Schools from around the UK visited the Big Bang competition with enthusiastic children asking lots of questions learning about eco-friendly engineering and science. The event had abundance of creative engineering and science projects and companies such as the Royal Airforce showcasing to kids the possibility of future careers and opportunities.

Susan Mighall head of Physics informed us “one of the teams from Rugby High won The RAF award for team work”. She said “The girls are so excited to have won. They worked so hard in the build up to the competition modifying their model, designing posters and visiting a local factory for more eco inspiration. We are all very proud of them and know their success will be a real inspiration for other students in the school carrying out Science project work”.

These competitions get tougher each year with more innovative ideas and kids getting smarter, what inspiration!

Susan said “With about 210 teams at the competition and the increased standard year on year, having won prizes a couple of years running when the Big Bang started around 12 years we last won prizes 3 years ago (highly commended and the year prior to that we won the intermediate science category).  In total this is the 6th project to win a prize. The standard is so high these days that winning something this year is a real accomplishment. The whole event is really fun and really excites the students to see what interesting a diverse career paths their studies of STEM subjects can take them in”. 

It is these types of awards, competitions and events which give hands on experience the best way forward for the young youth to learn, interact with real projects and become the inspirational leaders of tomorrow.

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