Big Bang in the East Midlands: bringing Earth and planetary science to pupils and teachers

Posted by mjs76 at Jul 08, 2011 03:55 PM |
University of Leicester staff had a successful and busy day last week at the Regional Big Bang Fair in Nottingham.

Big Bang Fairs are science events where selected student teams present their science projects and compete against each other to win prizes. Other schools can visit a Big Bang Fair to see the projects, take part in STEM workshops or play on interactive stands/exhibits hosted by regional industry, universities and organisations.

At last week’s East Midlands Big Bang Fair, Caterina Fernandes from our Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Dr Rebecca Wilson from our Earth Observation Science Group hosted two workshops for students aged 14-18, using planetary science as the context for learning interdisciplinary science themes (chemistry, physics, geology, geography and maths).

The sixty students who took part were able to do some real planetary science, studying meteorites from the University’s collection and comparing their appearance and composition with Earth rocks, then using spectroscopy to match meteorites with asteroids.

Caterina and Rebecca also staffed a planetary sciences careers stand – with the assistance of Dr Carys Bennett from our Department of Geology and Dr Sarah Gretton from our Department of Genetics – that was visited by more than 300 students and over 80 teachers during the day.