More than 300 schoolchildren across Sussex are to be engaged in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiatives by staff from Gatwick Airport, in the build-up to the airport’s engineering STEM week in December.
Students from schools including Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill, St Wilfrid’s in Crawley, The Weald Community School in Billingshurst and The Forest School in Horsham are all taking part in a variety of STEM-based activities throughout November.
- Bridges and aerodynamics labs run by Gatwick engineers for Year 9 students at The Forest School
- Gatwick site visits for students from The Weald, who will see the airport’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning boiler house, the workshop under the inter-terminal shuttle and three on-site Archimedes Screws
- STEM activity sessions for Woodlands Meed students, during which they will try constructing a variety of objects including newspaper tables, jellybean structures, a pom-pom launcher, free-standing marble run and bridges
- Support for St Wilfrid’s students in building their irrigation designs.
Two pilot cadets will also be visiting Gatwick, meeting the CAD and Airfield Engineering teams.
Gatwick will then be hosting a special STEM week in December, working with a different school each day to run workshops for Year 4 children, including road building, a water treatment lab and engineering interactive activities.
Louisa Venables, Engineering Admin Support, Gatwick Airport said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our extensive range of STEM support to local schools again, following the suspension of our education programmes due to the pandemic. These programmes are fantastic for engaging young people in a whole range of subjects and potential future careers and to be able to link them to local, real-life jobs at the airport is really inspiring for the children.”
Charlie Tibble, teacher, St Wilfrid’s School said: “Students had a great time working with an engineer developing their plans to irrigate St Wilfrid’s wellbeing garden. Ian Waghorn, the water quality manager from Gatwick Airport, gave fantastic advice to participating students from across the school. We learnt how powerful it is to work as a team, sharing our ideas and skills.
“Ian explained his role at Gatwick brilliantly to students ranging from year 7 to 13. He made it relevant to our irrigation project and made us see the bigger picture of water usage and waste water. He worked with groups and encouraged collaboration, inspiring the students to explore alternative solutions and helping them identify problems with their plans so they could work at resolving them.”