UK pupils ‘set to build rockets and colonise mars’

So claim organisers of a nationwide competition launched by award-winning author, Lucy Hawking, and Dr Paul Pester, CEO of TSB Bank

TSB has announced the launch of a nationwide competition for schools, bidding to encourage more children aged 7-11 to “understand the wonders of the universe and get excited about STEM subjects”.  

Parents, teachers and governors can enter their school into the competition to win a half-day session with award-winning author Lucy Hawking (Professor Stephen Hawking’s daughter) and TSB’s CEO (and theoretical physicist) Dr Paul Pester, during British Science Week (9-18 March).  

During the visit, Paul and Lucy will deliver a workshop called ‘Let’s Build a Rocket’, which will see the children design their own rocket and work out how best to colonise the planet Mars.  

Paul Pester said: “As every physicist knows, you can travel anywhere in space and time with just a pencil, a sheet of paper and your imagination. I want every child to have the same opportunity to explore the universe as I have had and, even more importantly, see how STEM subjects will give them the foundation to go anywhere and do anything they want to in later life.  

‘Getting young children interested and excited at an early age is essential for the success of businesses and UK plc tomorrow.”

“I know first-hand how STEM subjects are the backbone to how we live our lives. Physics gives you a broad understanding of the world you live in and helps you develop key skills, from problem-solving to being analytical. I can’t wait to build a rocket with the lucky school that’s selected and see these children’s futures lift-off!” 

Lucy Hawking commented: “It’s often reported that STEM subjects are less popular with students than other subjects but, whether we realise it or not, many of our industries are built on STEM. Getting young children interested and excited at an early age is essential for the success of businesses and UK plc tomorrow.” 

The workshop is the result of collaboration between Lucy Hawking, TSB and Curved House Kids, a company specialising in educational materials for young people. 

‘Let’s Build a Rocket’ is part of TSB’s volunteering programme, which encourages everyone working at the bank to spend eight hours – when they would normally be working – supporting the local community.