Cheltenham Science Festival featured over 200 events and was attended by nearly 10,000 school children and parents over six days. The activities on offer ranged from playing with the world’s first gaming robot to building mini jet engines.
Renishaw ran two activities from its stand in the ‘Makershack’, an area of the festival dedicated to hands-on workshops. Firstly, visitors could cycle on the company’s ‘energy bike’, pedalling for 30 seconds to try and produce enough energy to illuminate all the lightbulbs, while also generating enough power to run a fan to cool the cyclist and charge the battery that powers a display screen and printer. In addition, visitors to the stand could make a magnetic top chaser, whereby a spinning top chases a paperclip along a table to demonstrate how magnetics, kinetic energy, gyroscopic effect and friction work.
Both activities were among many STEM projects being showcased at the festival and were well-received, with long queues throughout the week. The education outreach stand was supported by a team of Renishaw’s STEM ambassadors, who are primarily young engineers and great role models for the next generation of scientists and engineers.
“After visiting last year, we quickly realised that the Cheltenham Science Festival was a huge event in the STEM outreach calendar,” explains Rebecca Bound, education outreach officer at Renishaw. “It made good sense for Renishaw to have a presence as it was a great opportunity to build relationships with additional schools and increase the number of people with whom we share our educational activities.
“The hands-on environment of the MakerShack played to our strengths,” adds Bound. “It was great that we could showcase how much fun science can be using practical activities. The children really enjoyed becoming engineers and making something they could take home to show their friends and family, emphasising that engineering really is cool.”
Cheltenham Science Festival also included various presentations, including Neil Armstrong’s son talking about his father on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, and Alan Turing’s nephew exploring the breaking of the Enigma code. Other activities were held in EDF’s Energy Zone, the GCHQ CyberZone and the Hartpury Science Hub, while careers talks were also held for those interested in entering the world of STEM.