Brian Cox gives students a lesson to remember

7 February 2013
By Edward Gent
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Professor Brian Cox holds a one-off workshop at Rydon Community College in Pulborough

Professor Brian Cox holds a one-off workshop at Rydon Community College in Pulborough

TV-presenter Brian Cox gave students a lesson to remember as part of his efforts to promote a science and technology fair.

Professor Cox taught a one off lesson at Rydon Community College in Pulborough yesterday after the school won a competition organised by the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair taking place at ExCeL London from March 14 to 17.

Mr Damian Collins, Head of Science at Rydon Community College, said: “Having Professor Cox at Rydon was absolutely fantastic. The whole school got involved in the lesson which was streamed live to all classes. We really hope that his visit inspires more of our young people to take up an interest in science and engineering.”

Professor Cox said: “The response from students, teachers and parents alike has been wonderful, and I’m delighted to see so many young people eager to find out more about the natural world and our scientific understanding of it.

“I have always seen the process of understanding science, technology, engineering and maths as an exciting and inspiring one. These are challenging subjects, undoubtedly, and it is my job to show that this only adds to the enjoyment!

“I hope I help the students to see the beauty and power of the scientific way of thinking, and to show them the exciting future opportunities that maths and science subjects provide."

As part of their build up to the big event the organisers of the fair revealed research yesterday showing how important a grounding in science and technology is – with two thirds of children being regularly asked to help their parents use modern technology.

The study was conducted among children aged 11-16 and their parents and found that the most common device children have to explain to their parental pupils is the computer, with a nearly a third of mums and dads confessing to being confused.

But it’s not just modern technology that children are leading the way on with 50 per cent of parents saying they increasingly rely on their kids to help them live their daily lives with 33 per cent seeking tips on using less energy, 13 per cent on understanding recycling and 5 per cent deciphering nutritional information on the back of packaging.

Despite their lack of technical knowhow parents are still the first port of call for children when they have a question about how the world works, but according to kids, 79% of parents are left stumped, with more than half (53%) having to look something up or telling their children to ask someone else.

Despite their apparent lack of knowledge, technology is the area that parents are questioned about most and the findings reveal nearly a half of mums and dads have gone online to do research, a quarter have bought or checked out books and a fifth have organised educational trips to museums or galleries to help answer their kids’ queries.

But the research also shows some children still need to be empowered to ask questions about the things they don’t understand with 23 per cebt of youngsters believing it’s too difficult to get their head around the way their world works and 22 per cent being too embarrassed to ask something they think is common knowledge.

Professor Cox said: “The important thing is to make sure that people understand that science is something they can do.

“It’s a real misconception that you have to be a genius, you just have to be interested and open to new ideas.  It’s really a case of demonstrating that education enhances immeasurably the interest that is already present.”

Visit www.thebigbangfair.co.uk for more information on the fair.

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