Last weekend we travelled to the Big Bang Science Fair at the NEC, Birmingham for a day full of science, maths and electronics fun. This isn’t an event we’ve been to before and I have to confess that it wouldn’t necessarily have been one that would have even registered in our consciousness before this year. Since last September, M has been attending a weekly Electronics Club after school and he loves every moment of it. During the past few months, he has learnt to program a Raspberry Pi, has become an expert with circuit boards, has written his own computer games using Scratch, built a crawling microbug and is now embarking on his latest project, a turning frog.
Electronics has quickly developed into one of the great passions in M’s life and his recent birthday gifts reflected this new-found interest. From solar-powered robots to salt-water cars and night-sky constellations to a build-your-own robot arm, there’s been an awful lot of “building” going on in our household on a nightly basis. So, when the Electronics Club mentioned a possible day-trip to the NEC for the Big Bang Science Fair, M leapt at the chance and soon had the rest of the family on board too. We arrived at around 11am, split into small groups and started making our way around the huge number of exhibits that were there. There was a brief hiatus for lunch and then it was back to exploring the space before the show finished at 4.30pm.
Mike and M were in one group, whilst G and I were in another and we followed different paths around the hall. G loved her opportunity to generate enough power to light up some lightbulbs through pedal-power, whilst my favourite exhibit was playing musical vegetables, thanks to a piece of music software and some clever wiring. M, on the other hand, has been hard pressed to choose his favourite activity, although he is very proud of his memento of a rock-hard silicone glove, created by mixing some chemicals together (don’t ask me which, neither Mike or M can remember!). He also become the subject of discussion with some university students working there, when a medical student spotted his NG-tube and called her colleagues over as they had never seen a tube in situ before. Mike was also impressed that one of the nurses working on the ambulance display had not only heard of EGID, but also knew a little about it.
It was a fantastic and fascinating day out and M has already requested a repeat visit next year, with just one proviso: that we get there right at the start of the day in the hope those extra couple of hours might enable us to see everything there is to see.