Thursday 29 June 2017

Ed Bear at Big Bang Stem Science Fair

Hi all

We have returned again this year to the Big Bang South East Stem Science Fair in Sussex, UK. It is great to see how stem science is really growing in Sussex – this year there were almost 9000 children and teachers. Wow.

We brought an updated display showing Ed the Bear’s travels to scientists and other organisations around the world to learn about ocean science and human impact on the oceans. However, the display is really a celebration of how amazing the ocean is, providing 50% of the oxygen we breathe, freshwater, 15% of our food, new medicines, renewable energy, wellbeing and much more.

The display stand provides examples of some of the amazing animals and people that Ed the Bear has encountered on his travels with photographs of Ed sitting with penguins on Antarctic ice, diving on coral reefs and ship wrecks, coming face to face with great white sharks and much more.





We also included our demonstration of ocean acidification. The oceans absorb 25% of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. This is now changing the water chemistry of the ocean threatening creatures that build their shells and bodies from calcium. carbonate.

In our demonstration we put a sea shell in vinegar which slowly dissolves during the day. Creatures in the ocean are not dissolving, but they are struggling to access the calcium carbonate to build their shells and we are seeing thinner shells and even deformed shells that can make it easier for a predator to break through to eat the occupant.

We also had a display and activity based around plastic pollution.
An activity using rice (representing food) and lentils (representing plastic) to demonstrate the problems of micro-plastics. We even find plastic in the bodies of plankton. Tiny pieces of plastic can also absorb other pollutants increasing the risk to the oceans wildlife.

Ed the Bear wears a necklace made from a scientists ring band. A scientist placed it on the leg of an albatross chick which sadly died from swallowing plastic. Ed uses the necklace to share his experiences of the plight of these majestic birds.

We also set up a display of live inter-tidal invertebrates from our local beach and using a USB microscope cam displaying them on a screen

Intertidal exhibit video clip 

It was an amazing day with lots on excitement, enthusiasm and interest from the children. Our go home message was that the ocean will be an increasing focus for stem related careers to help us understand our planet or help solve the many threats to our planets continued health.

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