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Young scientists play CATCH! up

Published13th March 2018

Children from an Ipswich primary school got first-hand knowledge of some cutting edge technology when they visited the University of Suffolk during an innovation day set up as part of the CATCH! Project, funded by Innovate UK.

The St John’s years 5 and 6 pupils were special guests at the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) to find out how this facility supports research and ICT businesses.

The children took part in two sessions – undertaking some CAD design in the new 3D printing suite and learning about what air is made of, the sources of air pollution and how it can be measured, including experiments with liquid nitrogen and dry ice.

The innovation centre is supported by Ipswich Borough Council, and Council Leader David Ellesmere joined IWIC leaders to chat to the pupils about their visit and the science and technology work they are doing in the classroom.

The Council is working with St John’s school to trial a smartphone app to understand home to school transport which will help the school plan transport differently. Parents are being asked to download the app and the anonymised data is being used to understand transport flows in relation to the home to school journey. The Council has also installed some state of the art air quality monitors look at the impact of transport on air quality around the school. 

The Catch! app is available to download on iPhone or Android devices for users in Ipswich http://get.travelai.info/smarteripswich

Councillor Ellesmere said: “It was a great day for the children and also for us. We were able to see at first-hand how youngsters develop their scientific knowledge. It is important, especially for the girls, to realise that they can achieve exciting careers in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).”

The school certainly appreciated the day and have already thanked the organisers for “the inspiration to the children”.

Stefanie Thorne, Head of Research and Enterprise Services at the University of Suffolk, said: “St John’s Innovation day at IWIC has been lots of fun for the children and hopefully will inspire them to think about becoming scientists in the future. This is a good example of the University, Ipswich Borough Council and a primary school in Ipswich working together to give our young people opportunities to widen their horizons and experience the wealth of opportunities there are in Suffolk.”

Stef is a governor for STEM at St John’s School so has helped support this initiative.