3 Oct 2019

Pupils in years 7 and 8 got to grips with science and technology, when the BAE Systems STEM Roadshow visited school on Wednesday 2nd October 2019.

Presented by BAE Systems, and their partners the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, the roadshow began by giving a brief introduction to each of the three organisations, going on to talk about the role of engineers working within the defence industry. We were lucky enough to have Fiona Jackson, an engineer from BAE Systems, attend the event. Fiona was available after the roadshow to answer any questions pupils had about working in engineering.

Entitled ‘Are we connected?’ the focus of the roadshow was on communication, in particular the technologies used by engineers to communicate. One of the engaging presenters whizzed into the roadshow on a hover-board, explaining that the gyroscope used in the boards is the same used as the ones used in fast jets. The team then went on to give some facts about mobile phones and explained, referring to the electromagnetic spectrum, how they worked. Then it was time for the first of many fun demonstrations. Lots of eager volunteers wanted to get involved with demonstrating how a mobile phone signal travels from one mobile phone user to another. Pupils donned hats and became ‘mobile phone users’, ‘mobile phone masts’ and ‘base stations’, throwing a bean bag between them to represent a signal. Pupils were then invited to think about an air base communicating with fast jets and the roles of communications specialists in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. A demonstration that followed focused on the importance of accurate communication, as one pupil described an image in front of her, as another pupil listened and sketched it out, the image appearing on a big screen, with funny consequences.

Pupils then discovered how infrared works, with one volunteer taking on the ‘Night Vision Challenge’. The volunteer donned a pair of hi-tech night vision goggles and ventured inside a dark tent, wearing the night vision goggles and retrieved various items including a rubber snake. It had been revealed earlier in the presentation that some snakes hunt at night using infrared.

Finally, pupils learned about Bluetooth technology, with volunteers controlling and racing spherical Sphero robots connected by Bluetooth to their iPads. The team then demonstrated how machines could communicate with one another, using a pre-programmed Sphero robot connected to another by infrared. 

 “Once again BAe Systems and their partners have provided an excellent entertaining and information educational STEM show,” said Mr Duggan, Head of Technology. "They really help our pupils connect our curriculum to career opportunities in a wide range of engineering disciplines, changing perceptions and opening up pathways."

This fun and fascinating roadshow enabled pupils to make links between the skills and knowledge they acquire in school science and technology lessons and new technologies and careers in engineering in the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and BAE Systems.

Many thanks to the BAE Education Programme and to Mr Duggan, for organising the event.