Borders College

College repeats successful Borders Science Festival event

Following the success of last year’s event, Borders College has again welcomed over 20 primary school pupils through its doors as part of the Borders Science Festival, 2017.

Borders Science Festival

The Live Borders festival, now in its fifth year, runs to the end of May and aims to inspire people of all ages to explore and celebrate the world of science. P5-7 pupils from Langlee Primary School visited the College’s campus in Galashiels, participating in a range of exciting activities including: animation, programming and coding, virtual reality, smart-phone programmable ‘Sphero’ ball, drones, and the popular BloodHound Challenge which involves the pupils in designing, building and racing their own miniature rockets cars in teams.

Staff from the ISLT and Construction & Engineering departments at the College hosted the interactive workshops, guiding pupils through the various technologies and allowing them to try them out for themselves.

ISLT Support Technician David McLear, who hosted the drones workshop said: “I challenged the pupils to land their drones on marked targets throughout the room – only a couple had operated one before, but the controls are quite similar to an Xbox so they picked it up very quickly.”

E-learning Technologies Manager Conor Bradley, who hosted the virtual reality workshop added: “We used the Google Expedition app to take the pupils to places they couldn’t normally go, including tours of Mackies ice cream factory, the International Space Station and the human body. They were really excited, asked lots of questions and said they would love to do this again.”

The College’s very own ‘Rocketeer’ Dave Black supervised the BloodHound workshop – the pupils enthusiastically created their rocket cars using the supplied Micro:bit kit in anticipation of the race that took place later in the day. The winning rocket car belonged to team ‘Lightning Speed’ (pupils Ashton and Kris) whose car reached an impressive top speed of 73mph. Engineering Lecturer Dale Clancy said: “The students seemed very engaged with the project with the cars ending up in all different shapes and sizes. They all seemed to enjoy the day with everyone able to learn something different, from using the tools in the workshop to thinking of different ways to make the car aerodynamic.”

Head of Care and Access Faculty, Jayne Gracie, who was behind this year’s event at the College, added: “The event provides future inspiration for both males and females to get involved in science and engineering.” The pupils can now take the skills they have learned forward, potentially encouraging them to further develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skillsets, an increasingly important asset for the modern workplace.

Kelsey Jubin, Creative Learning Assistant with Children and Young People’s Services at Scottish Borders Council said: “I help to organise the schools programme for the Borders Science Festival, and on behalf of SBC I would like to thank our funders – Scottish Government, Education Scotland and GB Technologies – who make events like these possible.”

Published: Wed 24th May, 2017