The students had the chance to work alongside world-leading academics.

Cornish pupils given insight into ‘why energy matters’ at Environment & Sustainability Day

Dozens of schoolchildren from across Cornwall were given a fascinating insight into the relationship between energy and the environment, at a special event held at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus.

More than 80 Year 10 students from eight secondary schools were invited to take part in the fifth annual Environment and Sustainability Day, held recently.

The 14-15 year olds were given the opportunity to participate in a range of activities and workshops to discover first-hand ‘why energy matters’ – the theme of the event, held at Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

The aim of the day was to give the students an introduction to the world of research via the use of two key skills – enquiry and communication. A morning of enquiry involved the students working alongside world-leading academics in interactive group-based workshops around themes of renewable energy, energy transfer in nature, carbon emission modelling, and the interplay between science and policy.

The students were then tasked with communicating what they had learnt, by preparing and then delivering presentations back to the other groups over the course of the afternoon.

Speaking at the event, the ESI’s Director, Professor Kevin J Gaston, said “We want to connect what we do here with the people for whom the environment matters most. What happens to the environment of Cornwall, the region and the world is more important to you and your lives than it is to us. We’ll be long gone.

“Our hope is that days like this will help inspire children to consider a career in research, and that one day they might follow in the footsteps of the many world-leading academics who have made Cornwall, and the ESI, their home.”

The schools that took part were Cape Cornwall, Hayle Community School, Humphry Davy School, Mount Bays Academy, Redruth School, St Ives School, The Roseland Academy and Treviglas Community College.

A teacher from Humphry Davey School in Penzance said: “Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with researchers which enables them to think within new dimensions. The importance of maths and science in real life scenarios is highlighted, and the curriculum relevance within current specifications is spot on.”

The ESI is committed to fostering links with local schools via its Teacher Affiliate Programme, which aims to produce materials for classroom use, to see more formal links between teachers and researchers, and to create more visits by and to schools.

Since opening in April 2013, the ESI has become home to over 200 academics, researchers, technicians and professional support staff, raising over £16 million in research income, working with over 500 local businesses and publishing scores of papers which have established our position at the forefront of environmental research.

Date: 27 March 2017

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