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Popular science show to reach thousands of young people online

The Bubbles and Balloons science show in action

AN INSPIRING science event which reaches thousands of young people every year is set to increase its audience by moving online.

The REACT Foundation’s free Science Shows will be streamed into primary and secondary schools across the county after the charity found a way to ensure that students did not miss out on the popular annual event.

The interactive shows and workshops usually take place over a fortnight during early autumn in different West Cumbrian schools, with more than 7,500 young people taking part every year.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 shows are being delivered virtually into classrooms, making them available to schools across Cumbria for the first time.

Pete Woolaghan, co-founder and chairman of the REACT Foundation

Pete Woolaghan, co-founder and chair of the REACT Foundation, said: “We were determined to find a way to offer young people the opportunity to take part in our popular Science Shows despite the on-going pandemic.

“We realise that holding the shows online isn’t the same but it has allowed us to increase the numbers taking part because we are not restricted by space. It means more young people than ever can take advantage of the free shows.

“Our aim is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers so the more young people we can reach, the better.

“We know young people have missed out on a lot this year so we are delighted to have found a way to make this work and put on a programme which we hope the students will find interesting and inspiring.”

The REACT Foundation is delivering two different Science Shows to schools over three days from Tuesday, December 8 to Thursday, December 10.

The shows are being staged in partnership with Science Made Simple, which offers tailor-made educational experiences for schools. Bubbles and Balloons is for Key Stage 2 primary school children and will investigate giant bubbles and whizzing balloons, while Music to Your Ears is aimed at secondary school students in years seven to nine and will focus on how sounds are made, recorded and seen. Both shows will be introduced by Pete Woolaghan, from the Foundation.

The Science Shows are supported by the University of Cumbria.

The REACT Foundation was created in 2004 by REACT Engineering to mark the 10th anniversary of the pioneering engineering company, which is known for providing solutions to complex industry challenges.

The charity inspires young people across Cumbria to enjoy science and engineering and runs an extensive, targeted programme of events including ICanToo programmes with local schools and a midweek REACTioneers evening club for young children in the community which was last year visited by Princess Anne.

It was also part of the team that held the groundbreaking Infinity science festival in Cumbria attended by Professor Brian Cox. All the activities are run by volunteers, including visits to science events around the UK.

In June, the Foundation was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, equivalent to an MBE.

Phil Redfern, managing director of REACT Engineering

Phil Redfern, managing director of REACT Engineering, said: “It’s wonderful that the Foundation has found a way to provide the same opportunities for young people as it has done in previous years.

“The Science Shows have made a big difference to young people’s attitudes and thinking towards science and engineering over the years.

“The rolling out of the virtual science shows to students across Cumbria will ensure even more young people are excited and inspired to find out more about science.”

Places are still available and schools wishing to take part in the free shows are invited to contact Irene McMillan on 01946 383614 or [email protected].

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