By Joanna Morgan 27 October 2015
The pupils from four different Carmarthenshire schools were accompanied by two teachers from Coleg Sir Gar, who had organised the visit as part of the Llanelli Cluster Challenge, which aims to help identify future progression and career routes for pupils.
In order to demonstrate the variety of career options available to pupils interested in science, our team of volunteers were chosen carefully to represent the different backgrounds. The team consisted of Joanna Morgan (architect), Pete Greenwood (product design background), Joel Troughton (materials science and engineering), Alistair Barnes (chemistry) and Jordan Marinaccio (materials science) – demonstrating the mix of skills at SPECIFIC and how an interest in science can lead to different careers.
We split the pupils into three groups and set them the task of designing a useful landscape installation or item of street furniture for an urban environment which would be, of course, powered by solar energy. This would encourage the pupils to work as part of a team, think critically to solve a real problem and improve their communication skills, as they were to present their idea to the wider group at the end of the session.
We also included a tour of our facilities and gave them the chance to make solar cells with Pete and Joel. They thoroughly enjoyed this and it really helped them to understand more about solar energy and, very importantly, how much fun science can be!
The day was very successful – all the pupils fully participated in the activities, coming up with some great ideas, such as a solar powered waste bin that compacts rubbish and alerts the council when the bin is full. We had healthy debates within the groups where pupils became passionate about their ideas and all presented their designs well, stating the pros and cons of their proposals.
Feedback from the group was that it had increased their interest in science or engineering, that they had enjoyed learning about new technologies and had enjoyed being creative.
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