Longitude Explorer prize: inspiration and induction day
Friday 13 March saw the shortlisted entrants of stage one of Nesta’s Longitude Explorer Prize 2015 come together from schools across the UK to take part in an induction and inspiration day.
The day was held in Birmingham at the Big Bang Fair. With a focus on satellite technologies the jam packed programme opened with space comedian Chella Quint and, to the delight of young and old, closed with Jean Francois Clervoy, the last European astronaut to spend time on the International Space Station.
- A total of 67 entries went through to Stage 2 of the Challenge Prize.
- 60 entries and 25 schools came along to the Induction Day with over 200 children taking part.
- There was a good geographical spread of entrants with visiting schools from across the UK and a number from Wales and Northern Ireland.
The objective of the day was to engage the young entrants to further develop their shortlisted ideas (concepts for apps, products and services that use satellite data) and to give them the inspiration and knowledge, tools and resources to create an action plan to bring their concept to life and market – and complete the final stage of the prize.
Setting the scene
A warm-up session designed to engage the schools in the task at hand, included a video from Catapult showing the 2030 World Vision Empowered by Satellite Data which was met with oohs and aahs from the audience as they understood the opportunities provided by satellite data and what it might mean for the ‘future of everything’. Comedian Chella Quint provided a bespoke comedic set inspired by the shortlisted entries themselves which led them giggling into their workshop activities.
Engagement continued with interactive workshops where entrants were tasked with visualising their ideas and prompted to think how they may be sold and marketed. Practical tasks were to create a newspaper article and front page or a poster depicting an advert of their app, product or service concept.
STEM ambassadors and volunteers were on hand to assist the teams and provide extra information, coaching and expertise. Volunteers from Itis3d provided insight and advice on the potential of 3D printing in prototyping and other uses.
Inspirational talks by the LEP partners – Raspberry Pi; UKSA and Catapult – also provided wider knowledge on the importance of space, the use of satellite data and future career opportunities.
The teams had an hour’s networking on the Big Bang Show floor, where entrants were given the opportunity to network with LEP partners and other relevant exhibitors taking part in the Fair itself.
The day culminated in the presentation of CREST Award certificates – the first stage of the entry being equivalent to the Bronze stage of the British Science Association’s Award scheme.
To the massive joy and excitement of all in the room, both young and old ‘Longitude Explorers’ had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Jean-Francois Clervoy, who regaled the audience with tales from his experience on the International Space Station and gave out the CREST Award certificates to the excited recipients.
We’re now looking forward to the next stage of the Prize and planning for the Awards Ceremony is already underway. Watch this space!