When does STEMFest take place?

STEMFest will be running from the 2nd – 13th October, with a dedicated Home Educators Day on Tuesday 17th October.

We advise groups to arrive as close to 10am as possible and leave no earlier than 2:30pm. We can be flexible for those traveling from far away, so please feel free to discuss your options with us during the booking process.

What will the day involve?

The day will start with a welcoming introduction before participating in our STEMFest event. The day will be split up into three different sections, with a break for lunch part way through the day.
(Please be aware the order of activities may change based on the schedule of the day)

Part One: A carousel of STEM activities delivered amongst the Aquarium exhibits, inspired by the work of the Darwin Leaders.

  • Activity 1: Population count of local starfish species and the creation of scientific drawings.
    • Location: Plymouth Sound
    • Topic focus: Maths and Art
  • Activity 2: Observing the behaviour of a variety of keystone species that can be found in the Atlantic Ocean.
    • Location: Atlantic Ocean Tank
    • Topic focus: Biology
  • Activity 3: Collecting data on different coral reef species using quadrats.
    • Location: Great Barrier Reef
    • Topic focus: Maths and Biology

Part Two: Our workshop will include a virtual reality tour of the Oosterschelde, as well as the chance to investigate some real-life Ocean specimens. Pupils will also learn about the discoveries that Charles Darwin made during his five-year expedition around the world, after he set sail from Plymouth on the HMS Beagle in 1831. Throughout the workshop, they will create their own unique creature, but will it be adapted to life on our planet? Students will leave with a greater understanding of the theory of evolution, and knowledge of the journey that led to Darwin writing a famous piece of scientific literature: On the Origin of the Species.

Part Three: The grand finale of STEMFest 2023 will be an interactive show, delivered in front of our huge Eddystone tank! The show will allow pupils to build upon their knowledge of the theory of evolution, and the achievements of famous Ocean explorers. They will leave inspired to explore the local environment for themselves and to take action to protect it.

Will there be any follow up activities?

Everyone who attends the in-person STEMFest 2023 event will be eligible to sign up for a bonus virtual session, broadcast live from the Osterschelde itself. During this unique stream you can learn more about what life is like on the tall ship and see firsthand some of the conservation work that is happening along the journey. Details on how to book this session will be available soon!

All participants will receive a free follow up evolution-themed lesson plan to deliver after STEMFest. A series of downloadable resources, including worksheets, how-to manuals, and a step-by-step video, will be made available to groups wishing to continue with their learning in the after the event.

You will also receive a free ‘Bioblitz’ guide, which can be delivered as a follow up activity after the event. Inspired by the work of the Darwin Leaders, this lesson plan links in perfectly with the themes covered during STEMFest 2023. The session will enable pupils to study a species found in their local area, such as gardens and school grounds, which can contribute towards meeting the criteria needed to gain eco-school status. Please click here for more information on the eco-school initiative.

How much does it cost?

This event is £8.00 per school pupil (inc. VAT). One free adult may attend for every seven pupils visiting. Adults providing 1:1 support may also enter for free. Any additional adults are welcome at £6.50 each.

Please note, the minimum class size is 12 pupils, and you can have up to 32 pupils in each class. You may bring multiple classes to STEMFest, depending on availability.

For home educated attendees, this event is £8.00 per participating child (inc. VAT). One free adult may attend per family. Any additional adults are welcome at £6.50 each. Non-participating children may enter for £5.50 and children under 3 may come for free.

How can I book?

To book your class onto STEMFest, please contact learning@oceanconservationtrust.org or call us on 01752 275233.

Home educators can book directly through our Digitickets webpage here. Tickets must be booked in advance.

What if I have further questions?

To discuss the day in more detail, please contact learning@oceanconservationtrust.org or call us on 01752 275233.