Festival of fun: Youngsters discover the lighter side of science

On Friday 20th November, 90 seven to eleven-year-olds from two Islington primary schools enjoyed a fun festival of science and engineering organised by National Grid and City Year UK.  Running since 2011, the festival is designed to spark children’s interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and demonstrate their relevance to everyday life.

Pupils from Pakemon Primary School and St Marks C of E Primary School attended the festival. Attractions included ‘whizz-bang workshops’, run by science education provider Mad Science, as well as ‘hands on’ activities organised by young volunteers from City Year UK, which started in Islington and has its headquarters on White Lion Street.

Pupils had the opportunity to make working models of watermills and windmills and learn about the human body. A session on ‘How Blood Works’ mixed water with beads, craft foam and ping pong balls, while a human jigsaw puzzle involved children filling in an outline of a skeleton using everything from coloured paper and cotton wool to bubble wrap, to make as accurate a depiction as possible.

The National Grid Science Festival is part of ‘School Power’, a unique programme offering free extra-curricular science workshops to primary schools. A collaboration between National Grid and City Year UK, it enables City Year volunteers, trained by National Grid, to deliver sessions which assist teachers with the KS2 science curriculum.  City Year’s volunteers also help facilitate visits to National Grid’s Energy Education Centre in Willesden to see the giant energy infrastructure project that National Grid is building and to take part in fun experiments there.

Dunjhaise Singh, Special Projects Leader at City Year UK, said: “Many young people volunteer with City Year because they want to help tackle educational inequality in our schools and an important part of that is inspiring children’s love of learning.  Both the National Grid Science Festival and our wider School Power programme are bringing science and engineering to life for thousands of London pupils and make it a lot of fun at the same time!”

David Luetchford, National Grid’s Head of Cable Tunnels said: “Supporting the communities where we work is a priority for National Grid.  The London Power Tunnels project is a great example; at the same time as rewiring the Capital deep underground, our partnership with City Year UK is enabling us to connect with local pupils to inspire a new generation of engineering talent.”

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