Students inspired at Hastings science festival

A student handling one of East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society's snakes at Big Bang @ The Hastings Centre. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex
A student handling one of East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society's snakes at Big Bang @ The Hastings Centre. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex
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Students from across the south east enjoyed a fun-filled day of activities an inaugural science festival in Hastings yesterday (Wednesday, May 11).

The first Big Bang @ The Hastings Centre brought science and engineering to life for young people in the area with interactive demonstrations and shows encouraging students to consider further studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Pupils built a torch with the Institution of Engineering and Technology at the festival. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex

Pupils built a torch with the Institution of Engineering and Technology at the festival. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex

One highlight was East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society’s stall where young people had the opportunity to handle snakes and get practical advice on keeping and breeding reptiles and amphibians,

A student from The St Leondards Academy said: “I enjoyed getting to know the animals and learning about them.

“Like why snakes have scales and why tarantulas have hair. Science rocks!”

The event was part of the Big Bang South East, a programme of events taking place across the region to enable young people to discover close to home where their STEM studies can lead, and it was the celebration event of the inaugural East Sussex STEMfest.

Students watch as marshmallows expand in a vacuum. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex

Students watch as marshmallows expand in a vacuum. Photo courtesy of STEM Sussex

East Sussex STEMfest, and the Big Bang @ The Hastings Centre are organised by STEM Sussex, the outreach support department of the University of Brighton, in partnership with the Sussex Learning Network and Skills East Sussex.

“Addressing the STEM skills gap has been identified as a real priority for businesses in the East Sussex area,” said STEM Sussex operations manager Jo McKinney-Green.

“We were really pleased to have local companies like Photek and General Dynamics along, to show the interesting STEM involved in their jobs, and talk to the young people about potential career paths.”

Other highlights of Big Bang included the Science Museum’s ‘Most disgusting show in the world ever’ and the University of Kingston’s Lab in a Lorry where visitors took part in a variety of experiments.

A student from Willingdon Community School, in Eastboure, said: “The best thing about the day was the Science Museum show because I learned a lot about the body in the most fun way possible. Best science trip ever!”

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