The building blocks of life
Imagination and creativity are the cornerstones of innovation. So how do we inspire the innovators of tomorrow to think outside the box?
This year our School of Chemistry are inspiring the next generation of scientists by hosting two innovative and exciting outreach projects – the First LEGO League and the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry. Bringing young people into our laboratories, staff and students are igniting passions for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through imaginative and interactive activities.
Building tomorrow’s solutions
Many of us can recall hours of fun spent designing LEGO creations, unleashing our creativity to build new structures drawn from our imagination. Encouraging youngsters aged 9-16 to practice imaginative thinking and teamwork, the First LEGO League is a global phenomenon which challenges teams to develop solutions to real-world problems through the freedom of LEGO. Researching a current issue, such as food safety, recycling or energy production, teams must identify a solution, build, design and program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology and then compete on a table-top playing field.
It’s a lot of fun, but crucially teaches young people how to apply their knowledge of STEM subjects with imagination and critical thinking to solve a problem. To complete the challenge, they must present their solution with creativity to a panel of judges, with entries judged on their core values, project concept and robot design.
Bunsen burners, experiments and explosions – stepping into a chemistry laboratory for the first time is an unforgettable experience. Bringing together teams of Year 7 and 8 pupils from regional schools to take part in practical laboratory challenges in our teaching labs, the annual Salters’ Festival of Chemistry gives students the opportunity to develop their chemistry knowledge and practical skills. Carrying out investigations as real chemists would, team working and independent problem solving skills are encouraged with a range of prizes up for grabs.
Join in the fun
Taking part in these outreach events is not just about the games – the extra dimension that makes them invaluable is the opportunity for youngsters to meet our staff and students, as well as professionals from STEM industries.
Both events require judges who can access and score the practical challenges and consider the core values demonstrated by teams. Could you volunteer as a judge and inspire the next generation of innovators?