Sixth-form students try out high-tech gear at University science day


1 July 2019 12:37
Students experimenting with technology around a table
L-R: Wadad Shodeinde from Twyford CofE School, London; Io Limmer from Thomas Whitham Sixth Form College, Burnley; Chengcheng Qu, Lancaster University AffecTech researcher; Martin Walls from St Thomas CofE Academy, Lancaster; Genesis Martinez from Runshaw College, Leyland

It was all smiles as Lancaster and Morecambe sixth-formers attended a special Computer Science workshop at Lancaster University, where they met researchers and experimented with innovative technologies.

The event at Lancaster University’s Infolab21, the home of the University’s School of Computing and Communications, was part of an annual STEM taster day, promoting opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The young scientists of the future included sixth-formers from Morecambe Bay Academy, Carnforth High School and Ripley St Thomas CofE Academy in Lancaster. The students learned about prospects in the technology education fields, and interacted with cutting-edge equipment being developed by one of the University’s digital health teams.

The sessions were organised as part of the University’s AffecTech project, which contributes cutting-edge research into wearable systems for emotional wellbeing.

Lancaster University AffecTech researcher Chengcheng Qu said: “It was great to see the students so actively involved in the sessions. Working with wearables technologies proved to be a fun and engaging process.

“We hope to see many of these capable students taking up the opportunities that are available in STEM education, which can in turn develop into rewarding careers in a variety of sectors, including health and wellbeing.”

The interactive sessions saw the students being guided to design their own wearables technology displays for representing emotional changes, using temperature sensitive ‘thermochromic’ materials. The youngsters chose a target emotion from various options and used different thermochromic paints, fabrics and papers to craft their unique wearable object. The students produced wonderful displays including badges and wristbands.

Each year sixth-form students are invited to find out more about studying STEM subjects at the University, touring the facilities and trying out hands-on science activities with students and staff.

More than 200 students attended the STEM day this year from a variety of colleges around the country, including Hutton CofE Grammar School, Preston; Runshaw College, Leyland; Blackpool Sixth Form College; Thomas Whitham Sixth Form College, Burnley; Wigan and Leigh College; and Twyford CofE High School in London.

This event was organised by Outreach Officer Jamie Carbert and delivered by the Outreach and Student Success team with support from across the University including the Global Recruitment Office and the FST Recruitment and Marketing team. SCC’s Dr Steven Houben, and SCC professional staff also contributed to the success of the event alongside Chengcheng Qu, and Claudia Dauden, researchers from the University’s AffecTech project.