Science festival captures the imagination

Pupils get to grips with circuit boards
Pupils get to grips with circuit boards

Cromar Future Group recently organised its largest science festival.

The March extravganza included a schools programme which reached around 800 children, a family festival weekend, two events for community groups and two adult science talks.

Aboyne Drop-in Club with MadLabs

Aboyne Drop-in Club with MadLabs

This year the group focused on working with the smaller and more remote schools and took an individual hands-on activity into 14 primaries from Braemar to Finzean around the Dee valley, and Strathdon to Tough around Donside.

The organisation focuses on individual hands-on science so that every child gets an opportunity at an activity.

In this case it was on electrical circuits. Local retired educator Peter Craig built circuit boards for a class of up to 30 individuals.

The flexible boards allowed for an easy range of different circuits featuring switches, motors, lamps and LEDs.

Hard at work at Amy's Spy School

Hard at work at Amy's Spy School

Building them from scratch helped keep the cost down by using cheap and simple components.

It also allowed youngsters to experiment freely and made it visually easy to see where the electricity flowed and why circuits did or did not work.

Accompanying the session was a short cartoon explaining how electrons were involved in electricity and how batteries worked, and a system which showed the circuit diagram as components were placed on the board.

These were developed by coders in the group’s Everything Electronic Youth Club.

Young scientists of the future at the chemistry table

Young scientists of the future at the chemistry table

For children in schools who did not participate last year, the team brought back the popular MadLabs Team who introduced them to soldering a circuit board project.

Organiser Lesley Ellis said: “You know you’re getting things right when you have children wandering out of a session saying ‘science is such fun’, or ‘can we have some more science?’, or exclaiming ‘I always wanted to know how a motor worked’.

“Primary school children love science and technology, and these subjects require both knowledge and practical experimental and technological skills.

“They go hand-in-hand, which is why we focus on giving each child an individual practical activity.”

Lesley added: “We were bowled over by the reaction to the festival.

“Some parents who came on the Saturday were dragged back again on Sunday. We thought people would stay a couple of hours and they were there for most of the day.”

The group have thanked sponsors for the financial support that allowed them to reach around 1000 people with science activities.

They would also like to thank the many volunteers and particularly the group would like to mention Peter Craig, Richard Burn, Jude Bain and David Harper for their help.