The sun shines on The West Midlands Big Bang 2019

Pupils amazed at the Artificial Intelligence technology

As June is expected to be the wettest on record for rainfall, we were thrilled to see the sunshine come out for The Big Bang West Fair Midlands Fair 2019. Held for the second year running at Staffordshire University the day proved to be an outstanding success. We saw over 3,000 young people, 48 competition stands, 21 judges and 60 exhibitors bringing an array of interactive STEM activities for visitors to enjoy.

The Action

An electric atmosphere sore through the whole day with designated zones stretching over the breadth of the campus. Shows were nestled in the Ashley Lecture Theatre, labelled the Green Zone and Dallas Campbell, Sarah Cosgiff, Jon Chase and Simon Watt once again wowed each audience with their science shows. Each show provided a diverse STEM experience, that saw visitors engaged and enlightened towards a career in science, technology, engineering and maths. With an honour’s degree in Aerospace engineering, Jon Chase had a full audience rapping to a medley of science facts offering an alternative way of exam revising.

New for this year

New for this year; The Curiosity Show, provided a quickfire round of 100 questions put to a panel of experts from Staffordshire University. Via a bingo calling system, young people in the audience put their burning science questions such as “How long is a day on the Moon?” or “What would happen if you fell into the black hole?” to the University panel:

Dr Nigel Thomas – Dean, Life Science and Education Staffordshire University Dave Skingsley – Entomologist and Researcher Malacologist Middle person: Dr Alyssa Phillips – Director for Student Recruitment Staffordshire University

See a tweet here.

Huge thanks to the academics who took part:

Angela Priestman

Jodie Dunnett

Nigel Thomas

Andy Platt

Duncan Parker

Dave Skingsley

Crime Scene House at Staffordshire University


This year’s event saw over 12 different workshops for schools to book onto. One of the favourites, was held at an on-site Crime Scene House. The real-life house was set up with each room having had a staged crime. Young people wore forensic suits and set off on their clue finding mission, learning how to identify evidence, explore procedures in criminal investigations and then how to present their findings in a court room setting. The fact a teacher was identified as possible suspect proved highly popular with the young people!

The Hospital Ward proved to be another eye opener for young people attending. The fully staged hospital ward included dummy models with working pulses and eye movements, enabling hands-on props such as syringes to be used. The whole hospital experience provided an interactive experience into careers in the medical industry and nursing profession. Staff from the university provided excellent demonstrations and were on hand to encourage questions and further learning.

Staffordshire University Hospital training ward

A huge thanks to St Maria Goretti Catholic Academy for consenting to the images taken in various shots throughout the day.

The Finale

A pivotal part of every Big Bang event is marked at the competition final. With over 40 competition entries being placed at this year’s Big Bang West Midlands. This year, Staffordshire University provided the opportunity to enter its own “Going Underwater with STEAM” competition. Tackling marine environment climate change students entered projects included 20 entries from Walton Priory School – well done to them. See their online tweet here

Competition winners

Underwater with STEAM Runners UP – Walton Priory – M.A.R.K - not eligible for entry to the National Competition

> Underwater with STEAM Winners – Walton Priory – Eco-Boost

> Innovation – Caludon Castle School – Ec4o-friendly Factory

> Enthusiasm – Seabridge Primary School - not eligible for entry to the National Competition

> Communication & Presentation – Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College - Synergistic antimicrobial activity of garlic and honey against causative pathogens

> Real World Application – Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School - How can we reduce or remove oil and fat form the marine environment

> Young Engineer of the Year - Painsley Catholic College - Optimisation of boom swing

> Young Scientist of the Year - Caludon Castle School – How Brain Structure correlates to Mental Health

> Overall Winner - Caludon Castle School – How Brain Structure correlates to Mental Health

Huge thanks to Dallas Campbell who delivered the winning competition entries

"What a fantastic day! It was brilliant to bring the Big Bang West Midlands back to Staffordshire University for our 2nd year and even better to double the size of last year’s event!

The students experienced a day full of amazing interactive shows, workshops and exhibition stands to really give them a flavour of the breadth of careers available in STEAM industries.

At the heart of the Big Bang events is the Big Bang Science & Engineering Competition and once again we were delighted to see double the number of school entries we had last year. The quality of the projects and the enthusiasm of the school teams were well demonstrated to our industry judges who were very impressed with this year’s offerings and all said how delighted they were to have been involved.

On a day where even the sun smiled, we all had a great time!"

Michelle Lewis

Programme Lead - Big Bang Near Me Midlands Region


Huge thanks to Staffordshire University and its ambassadors and the staff that made the day possible. Providing a wealth of hands on exhibits that truly showcase the best of the university. Learn by Design would like to thank all the competition judges, exhibitors and show speakers and The Big Bang team. The event has proven popular year on year, and this is a testament to the schools and its pupils for engaging and returning to the event every year.

If you’re interested in taking part in The Big Bang Competition, you can see further details here.

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