A team of scientists and engineers from QinetiQ took to the roads of South Wales, in a mobile laboratory, to deliver fun and educational science experiments into the classrooms of local schools. The team of volunteers from QinetiQ’s Aberporth and Pendine sites brought science to life and hoped that their enthusiasm would inspire children to pursue studies in and take up exciting careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The 44ft lorry contains three distinct lab areas in which interactive experiments were hosted by QinetiQ employees. School children took part in experiments which used sound to bend a wine glass, used water to extract oil from rocks and created "sunsets" and "rainbows" using lightwaves in tubes.
The Lab in a Lorry is an Institute of Physics (IOP) initiative which has been on the road since early 2005. It is a free service to schools and aimed primarily at 11-14 year olds. The IOP relies heavily on companies such as QinetiQ for funding and also volunteers to supervise the onboard experiments. Since 2006 QinetiQ has hosted visits to schools in Worcestershire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Essex and Scotland. The tours are always organised by employees from QinetiQ sites near to the schools that are being visited.
Graham Love, QinetiQ CEO and corporate responsibility champion on the QinetiQ Board said: “This is a fun and unusual way of bringing science and engineering into the classroom and promoting much needed study and career options in these disciplines. Every time we organise a Lab in a Lorry tour we are delighted with the reaction of the children, it’s great to see them engaging in science subjects, which are at the core of what we do as a business. We have employees across the country who volunteer in local schools and science clubs as part of our educational outreach programme.”
QinetiQ visited five Welsh schools over a two week period from 17-28 November 2008. These were: Cardigan Secondary School, Cardigan, Ceredigion; Newcastle Emlyn Comprehensive School, Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire; Preseli Comprehensive School, Crymych, Pembrokeshire; Dyffryn Taf Comprehensive School, Whitland, Carmarthenshire and Llantwit Comprehensive School, Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan.