This has been a busy term for the STEM strand within AspireBU. We’ve just celebrated the end of 2013 by killing everyone’s favourite reindeer, Rudolph, just in time for Christmas!
Who Killed Rudolph? is a forensic murder mystery event for 13-14 year olds, run in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College, London. We host one event in Dorset for BU target schools and anther event at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) campus in Camden. The collaboration allows the RVC to work with students from rural communities and allows BU to work with pupils from inner-city schools.
Poor Rudolph dies at the beginning of the day and participants are challenged to find out how Rudolph died and who committed the crime. Pupils complete five different workshops: interrogation of the main suspects, ‘DNA Analysis’ and ‘Animal Autopsy’ (run by RVC students), ‘Trace Evidence’ and ‘Analysing Rudolph’s Stomach Contents’ (run by BU forensic students). The forensic team at BU have been wonderful in supporting this event for the second year running.
This year the Dorset event was hosted by Kingston Maurward College which enabled us to invite secondary schools from the west of the county. Often these schools cannot attend events in Bournemouth due to the long travel times required.
Over 250 pupils participated over the two days from 9 different schools in Dorset and London. Harry from the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy described the event as “Fun, Knowledgeable & Challenging”. Mrs Bicknell from The Woodroffe School stated her pupils “learnt lots about forensics/veterinary science”. A total of 28 student ambassadors from BU and the RVC helped run the outreach events.
Who Killed Rudolph? marks the end of a successful term of STEM outreach which started in September with a visit to the British Science Festival in Newcastle (enabled by an award from the SMN Fusion strand) and continued with visits to Somerset as part of the AspireBU’ s contribution to ‘HE in Somerset’ month. In November BU supported two popular engineering challenges at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in RNAS Yeovilton attended by approx. 160 pupils aged 14-17 years.
Later in the month we started running ‘Christmas Crystal’ workshops with local primary schools. Key stage two pupils were taught how to grow their own crystals for Christmas decorations. Twenty seven BU STARS (Science & Technology AmbassadoRS) helped deliver workshops for seven entire year groups during a 10-day period.
We also ran two after-school sessions on ‘Fascinating Feats’, our science activity pack for families. This was particularly well attended at Elm Academy in West Howe.
This term we started developing two new projects for the 2013-2014 academic year: Lego Challenges for lower secondary school pupils and working intensively with the Jurassic Coast Education team. BU is hosting a teacher’s conference for the Jurassic Coast next year and we’re also launching a programme of primary workshops based on fossils for our local target schools.
Other ongoing projects include exciting developments with the regional Computing At Schools (CAS) group which we hope will lead to academics from the NCCA running a CPD course for teachers who will need to teach GCSE computer programming next year.
In total AspireBU has engaged with over 10,000 pupils this term through their Student Recruitment & Liaison and Widening Participation initiatives.