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Charlie Payne and Ellen DowseStudents from Dene Community School, in Peterlee, along with children from 12 primary schools in the area, were treated to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) extravaganza.

The event – which was held in Dene Community school for a whole week – saw experts from around the region deliver fun and practical lessons on a range of subjects.

These included:

  • EDF Energy helped the children design and build their own pylon,
  • Scientist Peter Hoare performed ‘Chemistry in your shopping basket’,
  • Geologists and STEM ambassador Ross Wilkinson brought in skeletons and did a session on Antarctica,
  • Zombie scientist Professor Howe, from Glasgow University, created plans on how to survive an apocalypse in his well-renowned show he performs all over the country,
  • Rolls Royce engineer Ray Christie held sessions on aerodynamics,
  • Representatives from the Centre for Life, in Newcastle, brought along a planetarium and adaptation show,
  • Northumbria University lecturer Anne Willis held a workshop called Beer Goggles to show the affects that drugs and alcohol have on the body,
  • Children built vehicles such as solar-powered cars.
  • Paddy Ross held a ‘Life is an Illusion’ workshop, exploring the science of psychology.
  • Andrew Ingram ran an interactive IT workshop looking at data roaming,
  • The science department even dressed up as mad scientists and performed a ‘very explosive’ chemistry show for the primary students,
  • Staff at Dene Community also got involved and ran STEM sessions throughout the week .

Head of science at Dene Community School, Carolann McKay, said: “This is the second year that we have put on the STEM week, and once again it’s gone down a storm.

“Our students were taken off timetable for a week to take part in a whole range of different sessions.

“The aim was to inspire the students in science, technology, engineering and maths, and for them to see that it is fun, so that one day they may think about careers in that area.

“We want them to broaden their horizons and see that STEM careers are very good careers with so many different sectors for them to go into.”

Headteacher Kelvin Simpson added: “When children are inspired they want to learn.

“The school aspirations week with a focus on STEM is designed to enable every child to become aware of the opportunities available to them through experts and inspirational activities.”
Students were also treated to several trips as part of the STEM week, with some year nine students jetting off to Barcelona for a geography trip, while others visited universities across the region.

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