Primary pupils to help Santa escape in time for Christmas

Elena was delighted to help with the Santa Escape Room

Primary pupils to help Santa escape in time for Christmas

Science students at Forth Valley College are hoping school pupils can work out how to help Santa free himself from an escape room, just before he takes off on Christmas Eve.

First and second year BA (Hons) Applied Biological Sciences students – Elena Selciato (21) from Edinburgh, Freya Johnson, (16) from Stirling and Agnese Bettidi (20) from Berlin - who have applied become future Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassadors - used the appliance of science to create the science based challenge exercise for school pupils to complete in the run up to the holidays.

The workshop was a special Christmas gift for youngsters interested in science who may well have missed out on the excellent FVC STEM workshops that have been postponed this year due to the pandemic lockdown restrictions. The college now hopes that more face-to-face outreach events will be organised for later in 2021.

Elena, said: “I really enjoyed creating and working on this project even during these strange times and exam sessions. Coming up with ideas and discussing them with the group was fun and enjoyable. I am really fond of science communication and I think inspiring people at a young age and seeing them interested in STEM, is very rewarding and heart-warming.

“I have always been interested in how the tiniest of things work and how big of a role they have, this is why I decided to take microscopic pictures for this project, which was great fun for me!” 

Freya, added: “I really enjoyed being creative with this project by using my knowledge and formatting it into something that a completely different age group could complete and enjoy. I think this is one of the key roles of a STEM Ambassador - not only imparting your knowledge either prior or learned during my time at Forth Valley - but creating different ways it can be adapted to different age groups and student types.” 

FVC Science Lecturer Kerstin Doig, has driven forward the College’s innovative STEM learning resources in local schools over the last few years with the ‘STEM Pick N Mix’ (nursery-P7) and ‘The Famous Four Save the Planet’ (P5-P7) - which tell the story of the ‘Famous Four’ characters who save the planet through Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) experiments and activities. Kerstin has also helped to support pupils with workshops during their home learning through the pandemic lockdown.

She said: “It was great having our Science students coming on board, setting up the STEM Santa Escape room for local primary school pupils. The idea behind it was to continue our engagement with the primary schools, which was interrupted due to Covid restrictions, halting our award winning ‘Famous Four save the planet’ school outreach programme.

“In a time of online learning when one can lose the sense of community our students pulled together, discussed ideas and came forward with a challenging, but fun way to engage school pupils. I am looking forward to work with them and other FVC STEM ambassadors on more outreach projects in 2021.”

Thanks to funding of £43,727 from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund, around 2,300 nursery and primary school pupils in the Forth Valley area were given access to innovative online platforms packed with STEM activities and experiences, during the pandemic.

The exciting online learning facility is part of Forth Valley College’s hugely popular ‘Making STEM Work’ programme, which is delivered by a team of lecturers and students who visit schools to deliver workshops featuring the environmental cartoon heroes - Tim the Technologist, Susie the Scientist, Mandy the Maths Buff and Eric the Engineer.

After running the popular workshops for the last two years as a result of Education Scotland funding, the initiative began presenting ‘Making STEM Work Flags’ to schools in September 2019. Since then, more than 50 schools have been flying the flag for STEM after successfully completing the activities.

During in-class events, pupils were challenged to find the best way to keep heat in houses, explore if solar panels work on a cloudy day and how to build a storm-proof, weight bearing bridge. Science Lecturer Kerstin Doig and HND Applied Science student Cameron Allison also carried out demonstrations on energy and electricity, including: generating static electricity, creating Star Wars style light sabres and showing how electricity can be produced.

Anyone looking for more information on the online STEM workshops should e-mail .




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