A phone call from a good friend and the offer of tickets made the decision easy. I have never been to it before and I was looking forward to bringing our children along.
It was a flying visit, as the kids were in school in the morning, so, by the time we arrived it was 4pm. We only had an hour and half to look around.
CoderDojo was the first to grab their attention in the industries’ hall. Our children are attending one their clubs and they love it. In the group 7-12 they learn how to code, build a website, create an app or a game and this is all possible due to volunteers in the technology sector giving their time and experience. It is all done in a very informal, creative way.
Our son got to try out the VR Glasses and play a game in the virtual world.
There was a couple of kids explaining about CoderDojo and one in particular a ten year old boy called Ben, alias The MAKER Kid. He created lots of different gadgets, including a little car that he made. He picked it up at a workshop event during the summer at The festival of Curiosity.
The kids were very excited to see all the different technology, but my son’s eyes bulged and he grabbed my hand and led me to ARCkit. They got a present from Santa two years ago of this and they LOVE it. It’s up their with Lego; and the great thing is it’s Irish.
If like our kids, your’s love making and using their imagination, then ARCkit is for them. Our friend’s child is 8 and he never heard of it. They all got stuck in and started building straight away.
Damien Murtagh, who is an architect, invented ARCkit as a way of showing his clients physical models rather than 3d models on a computer, but he knew that it had the potential to be used by older children. There was quite a collection of kids circling the table totally engrossed in building homes of the future.
He is a very engaging friendly guy, who told me that his ARCkit is sold worldwide including Harrods, The Science Museum and The Design museum London. Stockists here in Ireland include Brown Thomas where ARCkit was in the marvel room at Christmas, The Science Gallery and Damien said more are going to be included this year.
The kids decided to stay as there was no shifting them from ARCkit, so I decided to venture off. I went into the main hall, where, as it was coming to the end of the day, a lot of the stands were empty. I got talking to two girls from Laois who attend Heywood Community College. Their project was in the social and behavioural science category.
They were researching “What effect did praise and criticism have on Academic achievement”. One of the questions they asked was “Do you think praise or criticism has an effect on your schoolwork?”: 78 % said yes, 4% said no and 17% said it depended on the subject.
One of the quote’s they had on their stand was by a footballer Timothy F. Cahill. He said “I take constructive criticism. Not everyone loves you. It’s the way you react as a footballer, I use it all to make me play better”….
When I went back to the industries’ hall the kids decided to go over to Analog Devices Limerick . Their stand was causing quite a stir with a lot of kids. They make lots of different components for everything from your camera, to amplifiers to sensors. Our children loved the different areas at their stand such as a large glass with lots of lead lights. When you looked into it, it looked like they had dug a huge tunnel right down to middle earth from where the kids were standing in the RDS. It turned out that it consisted of a mirror and just two strips of LED lights.
The next area had a box of what seemed to be a ariel map of mountain terrain projected down into the box. On closed inspection we realised it was a box filled with rice and the kids dug into the mountainous terrain and had great fun.
One of the very helpful people on the stand showed my children how to light a lightbulb by simply holding it in their hand. It works through the current going through their body from one source into the bulb.
As I said, it was our first time going to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and it really is for primary school kids from 7 upwards to enjoy and learn. It is on tomorrow (Saturday 14 January). Make it a family day out, if you can. Get out there early and ENJOY learning through fun….
After all, our children are the “bright sparks” of the future ….