Two academics from Cranfield University recently visited Sharnbrook Primary School, Bedfordshire to give Year 5 and Year 2 pupils an insight into some of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research conducted on campus.

Dr Toby Waine, Lecturer in Applied Remote Sensing at Cranfield University, demonstrated the use of satellites and drones in farming, taking along a large drone that he was able to demonstrate to the nine- and 10-year-old pupils.

Dr Waine also got pupils involved in hands-on activities. Using a portable spectrophotometer – a piece of apparatus that measures the intensity of light in a part of the spectrum – he asked pupils to guess what part of the spectrum coloured classroom objects would be in.

Speaking about the morning’s activities, Dr Waine said: “It was great to see the pupils getting excited about the topics that we covered and the technology involved. Relating the activities to everyday classroom objects helped to explain how drones and imagery are used to provide farmers with valuable information out in the countryside.”

In addition, Dr Sandra Messenger, Knowledge Exchange Manager at Cranfield University, took along a “Double” Robot. The device, which displays the users face on a tablet attached to a self-balancing robot, enables the user to navigate and communicate virtually at a remote venue.

Dr Messenger said: “The pupils were fascinated by our ‘Double’ Robot and even set up an obstacle course for me to navigate through. Activities such as this are fantastic for getting pupils as young as five and six to understand how satellite technology can be used in different settings across the world.”

Meshelle Headley, Year 2 teacher at Sharnbrook Primary School, said: “These fun and interactive sessions have really helped our pupils to understand the importance and relevance of science and engineering in the real world. So far we have been supported in the topics of insects and space and are looking forward to more help with our plant topic this summer.”

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