One of the largest science fairs of its type took place last week at Banbury Space Studio encouraging students to take a fresh look at the sciences.
The Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) science event was hosted at the Banbury Academy campus by Banbury iSTEM+ Hub and featured 40 exhibitors with interactive activities for students aged nine to 19.
The event was the first of its kind to be held at the Space Studio and was organised by Lucy Sterland, director of project based learning.
She said: “Today we’ve got over 2,000 children from all over. They’ve come from as far as London.
“We’ve got 40 providers who are here to encourage young people to take an interest in STEM subjects.”
The Big Bang Near Me programme has been running since 2013 and promotes science events across the UK via theatre shows, hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops and a wide range of careers information.
James Silcox, Big Bang Midlands programme director, said: “This year, in the Midlands, there will be 15 events. As a school event this is one of the biggest and one of the best.”
Making it such a success were local exhibitors with a strong influence in the STEM subjects including Prodrive and Magna in addition to exhibitors from further a field.
Students had a chance to get involved with everything from computing skills and virtual reality to taxing engineering tasks involving paper and a tour of the stars in a mobile planetarium.
One of the biggest hits of the fair was the Exotic Zoo who provide weird and wonderful animals such as meerkats and armadillos to Blue Peter among others. They had also brought a bearded dragon lizard, frogs and tarantulas.
Ryan Jordan, a handler with Exotic Zoo, said: “The kids love it. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with a meerkat.
He added: “It gives the kids an extra field of what they could get into, instead of pure science. Animals are science, you have the biology side and their behaviours.”
Schools from all the neighbouring counties made the trip to Banbury for the fair including students from Round Oak in Warwick which caters for students with special educational needs.
Science teacher Chris Foxall said: “This is the first time we’ve been. It’s fantastic, really well organised and lots of hands-on activities.
“The staff and the school have been really welcoming and the kids have loved it. We’ll be back next year.”