STEM boxes for local primary schools
13 June 2020
Curiosity boxes packed with fun STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) activities have been distributed to local primary school pupils.
The initiative is part of the award-winning Edinburgh BioQuarter Community Science Engagement project, which was first established by Dr Cathy Southworth at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine in 2016.
The initiative was sponsored by Edinburgh BioQuarter and the University of Edinburgh, who raised £20,000 funding after Cathy was approached by local teachers for support.
A total of 1,340 boxes have now been delivered to 6 primary schools in our neighbouring communities at Craigmillar, Niddrie, Moredun and Gilmerton.
Dr Cathy Southworth, Community Science Engagement Manager at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Edinburgh BioQuarter, said:
We’ve built up good relationships with our local communities over many years, so when the teachers came to us to ask for help in boosting science capital by providing STEM activity boxes, BioQuarter partners pulled together to help. World-leading science and research takes place across Edinburgh BioQuarter and it’s important that our local young people can benefit from this and can access a first-rate science education.
These areas should benefit from our location, and if we can inspire and assist young people and their families to engage with STEM and realise it could be a future career, then that’s a start. We run holiday science clubs, school science clubs, are behind the Craigmillar Community Science festival, and are here for the long term. Simply, our goal is to be good neighbours
Mhairi MacDonald, depute head teacher at Niddrie Mill Primary school, who made the initial approach to Cathy for support, said:
Like many families across the city, lots of our children and their loved ones have found lockdown difficult. Some have experienced more financial difficulties and have struggled without the structure and resources that school usually brings. A number of families also do not have a garden, so keeping the children entertained in a contained space has been challenging. During COVID we have had many families in crisis looking for support to make their home a more positive place to be.
We are limited to what we can offer but reached out to Edinburgh BioQuarter and asked if they could help, and they provided us with these wonderful exciting science boxes, fully funded. These boxes were offered to all children locally to offer equitable experiences during lock down.