As part of the Charge Around Australia project’s aim to educate and support people, the STEM Roadshow is bringing unique and exciting hands-on activities to regional, rural, and remote communities around Australia.
The broader CAA STEM outreach programme brought cutting edge science to schools around the UK in the run-up to the CAA journey. Designed to inspire students to learn more about sustainability, renewable energy and electric vehicles, the programme also shows students that they could potentially have a career in a STEM field, no matter where they grow up or what their background is.
Scientists from the Centre for Organic Electronics (COE) at the University of Newcastle reached into schools in the UK. A complete ‘live cross’ studio has been developed in the COE to enable direct video links from within the roll-to-roll print facility. This facility is where the printed solar sheets that we are using in the CAA project are being produced.
Researchers from the COE were able to show students in UK schools how these solar sheets are made, direct from the laboratory in which they are manufactured. These live cross sessions coincided with a school visit from the UK CAA team, with their Tesla car and sample solar sheets that the pupils could get hands-on with. A number of successful sessions took place, generating enthusiastic engagement from students, who asked plenty of insightful and thoughtful questions.
On the CAA drive, the STEM Roadshow and Outreach Programme is travelling around Australia. Arriving with the CAA team at each school stop on the journey, the STEM Roadshow delivers hands-on activities to engage students and connect what they’re learning at school with a real-world outcome. Stuart McBain, who is driving the Tesla around Australia, gives a talk to students next to the car while it’s recharging from printed solar sheets rolled out on the school field. Groups then break out and get involved in hands-on solar cell making workshops.
Pupils also learn how electric vehicles, solar, and charging work, in a fast-paced race against their schoolmates to raise awareness of the importance of using renewable energy sources. Along with these hands-on activities, a live cross to the COE print facility connects students with scientists working on cutting edge technology. An integral part of these sessions are the stories of how the scientists’ own careers developed, revealing the many pathways available into careers in STEM fields.
This exciting series of events is bringing live scientific research into some of the most remote schools in Australia. We sincerely hope some of the students in these outlying communities are inspired to become part of the next generation of engineers and scientists, who will potentially play an important role in solving problems yet to be encountered.
Charge Around Community Interest Company
The Charge Around Community Interest Company has been established to help us in our mission to address the climate crisis by educating, inspiring and empowering communities to understand the benefits of renewable energy, and how they can act to reduce carbon emissions, specifically through the use of solar power.
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