TechFest engages more than 3,000 youngsters in stem


Mental health incorporated into STEM workshops to support young mindsets

MORE than 3,000 pupils from 37 schools across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire took part in a range of psychics, astronomy, engineering and technology lessons last week as part of TechFest’s Early Years and Primary programme.

As well as having the opportunity to interact with STEM, the youngsters also learned more about emotional intelligence and mental wellbeing.

Supported by principal sponsors, bp and Shell, this was TechFest’s first festival since 2019 to return as a physical event, with the last two years switching to a digital format during the pandemic.

This year’s event incorporated mental health into the programme, with many workshops including emotional intelligence objectives to achieve health and wellbeing aims to support a positive mindset for children in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The festival took place from Monday to Friday last week (May 23-27) at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and attracted classes from all over the North-east including Inverallochy Primary, Milltimber Primary, Broomhill Primary, Peterhead Central Primary, Westhill Primary, Portlethen Primary and Logie Coldstone Primary.

Children in P1-3 were able to get involved in an array of activities such as K’NEX Under the Sea with Subsea 7, where they discovered the unique challenges of the subsea world and how science and technology can help deliver a cleaner, greener world.

Older pupils in primary 4-7 attended various workshops including Flash, Bang, Kapow! Supported by RGU School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, this offered pupils the chance to take part in exciting experiments that incorporated food such as ice cream, to inspire the next generation of scientists.

The festival also brought back some crowd favourites for all ages to attend, including the Critter Keeper, which featured real animal demonstrations to show the various species that live in the rainforest and the TechFest Dome, where pupils could study the night sky.

Sarah Chew, managing director at TechFest said: “It was fantastic to be back in person, engaging with young people and helping them discover more about the world of science, technology, engineering and maths.

“We enjoyed the challenge of making our festival digital over the last few years and seeing how many people we can reach virtually, but the atmosphere at RGU was just incredible and formed the perfect learning environment for this programme.

“The education sector has looked at ways to integrate more health and wellbeing objectives into resources and we wanted to make sure our festival aligned with this messaging. It is vital we start talking about this subject with children of a young age, so they are always aware of its importance and the support that is available.

“Our Early Years and Primary programme is specifically designed to show individuals the world of STEM and encourage interest into these ever-evolving sectors from a young age, so they can choose subjects that interest them as they progress with their learning and development.

“As an organisation, we feel we have developed the optimum programme throughout the year of hybrid and physical events, to make knowledge and resources accessible to all, while still offering a buzzing atmosphere for people to learn in.”

Alongside its Schools’ programme, TechFest runs a year-round programme of educational STEM events for all ages, including its annual festival of STEM.

Taking place in October, the festival’s public programme incorporates a variety of STEM events suitable for youngsters, families and adults, showing how STEM is involved in everyday life.

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