Students inspired during British Science Week

St Benedict’s School have celebrated British Science Week this week by inspiring Year 7 pupils with a challenge day; developing proposals for sustainable colonisation of a new planet.

Mentors and senior business representatives have attended the event to inspire the children, and support their research and learning. The day was planned by St Benedict’s science teachers in order to challenge their gifted and talented students.

The group of gifted and talented 11 year old pupils were set the challenge of developing the most sustainable options for water and waste disposal, energy production, transport, food production and construction for the colonisation of a new planet to celebrate National Science Week. They have presented their proposals to senior business leaders, in the culmination of a challenge to develop research skills, project management, communications skills and team working.

The day was aimed at inspiring the pupils, but also giving them an opportunity to work with and interact with business people from a range of companies working in and around West Cumbria. These businesses include Wates, Kaefer, United Utilities, Wild and Fruitful Coop, Morgan Sindall, Sellafield and the BEPDT (Box Encapsulation Plant Delivery team), and Business Toolbox Cumbria.

Katie Harper, Business Connector, Business in the Community, said:

“The day was about inspiring young people to be interested in science subjects related to sustainable communities. The day started with an inspiring pep talk to set the context and the challenge by Kate Wilson of Business Toolbox. The children then worked in teams, using project management techniques to develop new knowledge and skills. The day offered the pupils a real opportunity to work with business representatives.”

“As a large employer in West Cumbria we feel we have responsibility to support events such as these. Today pupils have experienced the skills that are used in business every day, and it is vital that we engage them at this young age. It is rewarding for our graduate employees to support the pupils whilst assisting in developing their own confidence and management skills in different areas of work, as well as offering them an opportunity to collaborate with other companies.” Paul Hoyle, Operations Director, Kaefer

Ian Smith said “I am delighted as Headteacher to welcome so many local business people into school to take part in inspiring our young people as part of National Science Week.  It is really important for St Benedict’s to be involved with our local and wider communities with projects such as “Destination Milky Way”, and I am grateful to everyone who has been involved in this really worthwhile enterprise.  Most of all, I am very proud of our students who have conducted themselves in a really positive way to engage with this project, and with our visitors.”

The businesses involved in this day were extremely diverse – ranging from Sellafield and some of their key contractors, to Wates who are starting the construction of the new school campus on the St Benedict’s site, to United Utilities who supply water and treat wastewater across Cumbria, and a food cooperative in Maryport. The businesses brought with them expertise to support the students as they explored the issue of sustainability, using project management techniques and developing presentation skills, but also gave them insights into a diverse range of employers locally.

The pupils have thought about the impacts of our decisions on a planet very similar to Earth. Considerations they will hopefully take with them through life. They have also come into contact with a diverse range of businesses and worked independently, gaining knowledge and skills to take forward in their learning journey and preparation for work.

What the students thought:

“There are really interesting jobs that I might like to do in the future.”

“We need to be careful with our resources or they will run out.”

“I have learned how to be businesslike.”  

“I enjoyed learning and using new skills.”

“We could work for NASA if we want to and we will be future leaders.”

“I enjoyed team work and making new friends. I’ve learned how to communicate well with adults and not to be afraid to speak up.”

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