STEM FAIR | Lundrava School 26th April
Lochaber STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) Fair is a collaboration between Highland Council, RAISE (Raising Aspirations in Science Education), Lochaber Geopark and Lochaber STEM industry. The STEM Fair was a one day event which focused on Primary 5 pupils across the Lochaber Associated School Group and primary schools which feed into Lochaber High School. The pupils got the opportunity to take part in practical hands-on workshops, which were led by local employers. DYW West Highland were delighted to support this event by inviting various employers to get involved.
Did you know?
Research, by UCL Institute of Education’s Aspires Report, shows that engaging children, especially girls, with science at a young age, can have a positive and lasting impact on whether they pursue a STEM subject in the future.
Employers who attended the STEM Fair included:
- Ben Nevis Distillery
- STEM Ambassadors
- Breedon Quarry
- Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd
- The National Trust for Scotland
- HW Energy
- Scottish Water
- BSW Timber Ltd
- Liberty Aluminium
- The John Muir Trust
- The University of the Highlands & Islands
- Forestry Commission
The lovely team at Marine Harvest gave us an insight into their STEM careers with the following explanations of what they do in some of their job roles.
The below text has been written by, Jayne MacKay, PA to MD / Communications Assistant, Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd
Environmental benthic sampling
The Environmental team stand was focused on the benthic sampling and analysis side of our work, Kate Stronach is an Environmental Analyst with a duel role of office-based permission work and on-site compliance work. The aim of the stand is to explain the importance of our monitoring of our interaction with the wider environment around our fish farms.
The school children were able to process a mock sample, finding example animals within sand by sieving them out, which mirrors our actions in the field. The animals are then matched against descriptions in a simple form of taxonomic identification, finally a maths challenge based upon our seabed assessment process is completed to identify the abundance of the different species of animals.
The Quality demonstration was product quality related, led by Quality Manager Hamish MacDonald. We engaged with the children on what product quality is and on what can affect product quality, in terms of the demonstration the children were given the chance to help Hamish carry out a rigor assessment on the fish and then discussed the science behind how this assessment can help us determine the stressed levels of the fish during the harvest, this is important to know as stress can have a detrimental effect on product quality. Hamish also filleted a fish and gave the children a chance to carry out a colour assessment of the fillets using a colour Roche fan, at this stage they discussed the science behind pigmentation.
What is STEM?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
Here within Marine Harvest all our staff will be using these disciplines in most aspects of their daily tasks – on our farms science is at the forefront of what we do whether it be carrying out daily health checks, quality sampling or testing in the lab. Technology and engineering again feature highly.
Aquaculture is a relatively young industry (just over 40yrs) and technology has dramatically changed the way we farm and will continue to do so. Some examples of this are automated machinery within our processing factory or feeding systems and the methods we use to treat fish such as water treatments using the Inter Caledonia well boat and our thermo and hydro licers.
And finally, Maths, all members of staff will use maths at some point in their working day, for example whether you are a member of our finance team or you are out on a farm monitoring feeding and converting the amount fed into the food conversion ratio (FCR) maths is an important discipline.
Thank you to Kate, Ruth and Hamish for helping and demonstrating their areas of work as well as answering lots of varied and interesting questions.