Robots, rainforests and racing cars at Techfest activity weekend

Techfest has a packed programme from May 28-29

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LEGO robots, a teddy bears’ hospital, rainforests, creepy crawlies and a journey through the solar system will combine to inspire budding young scientists at the TechFest Activity Weekend.

The much-anticipated event returns in person over the weekend of May 28-29, with more than 20 hands-on workshops, shows and demonstrations for the whole family.

The Activity Weekend will be held at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building at Garthdee, with a packed programme of fun running from 9.30am to 4pm daily.

The popular ‘In for a Penny, In for a Pound’ scheme will see adults paying £1 admission and children just a penny – there is no need to prebook, just turn up with an inquiring mind and time to have lots of fun.

The event is being jointly sponsored by bp and Shell, with support from numerous other venues and organisations, including Aberdeen Science Centre, Glasgow Science Centre, Dynamic Earth, RGU, Subsea 7, the Critter Keeper, First Aberdeen, the University of Aberdeen, the Royal Navy and Duthie Park Ranger Service.

The activities – some of which will run on either the Saturday or the Sunday – are designed to show how science is involved in our everyday lives, with the aim of instilling a love of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects in visitors.

Managing director of TechFest, Sarah Chew said: “We are so excited to be back in person after two years of digital activity weekends and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to RGU. We have put together a varied and fascinating programme of events and workshops that are thought-provoking and awe-inspiring and nothing beats seeing the wonder on children’s faces as they watch a demonstration or take part in an experiment!”

“We are grateful to our joint sponsors bp and Shell for their ongoing support of STEM engagement and also thank our event partners, who are bringing the best exhibits and shows from across the country to Aberdeen.”

“The In for a Penny, In for a Pound scheme makes the activity weekend accessible to all and we are looking forward to seeing everyone next weekend.”

Visitors can build and programme Lego robots with John McGill of ComputerXplorers, who will teach them about coding and robotics technology, with the chance to build models that move.

Sponsored by bp, the session will encourage guests to build a wind turbine to only switch on when the wind is strong enough or create a battery powered car, or construct their own toy racing car powered by salt water, produce an electronic drum kit with the Makey-Makey kits, use everyday household materials to create your own science experiment and enter engineering challenges at the Make the Future with Shell stand, presented with Aberdeen Science Centre.

The smallest visitors will enjoy ToddleFest, a soft play zone for the under-5s, while older siblings will love playing with K’NEX Under the Sea with Subsea 7, which gives the chance to explore the subsea world.

For a day that’s out of this world, visit the TechFest Dome to find out why we have day and night, wonder at a sky full of stars and discover the constellations, or try out a dramatic journey to the very edge of our solar system and back in Dynamic Earth’s portable planetarium.

Back on Earth, meet the Duthie Park Rangers and learn all about the world’s tropical rainforests, then meet real animals from the rainforest with the Critter Keeper.

Glasgow Science Centre will present Bodyworks Exhibits, where participants will get hands-on with a range of anatomy themed exhibits, then have the chance to chill out as Rona Main and Sandra Cook will present Yoga Science, a scientific led discovery of our bodies and minds through yoga.

And if your teddy is feeling a little under the weather, bring them along to the Teddy Bear’s Hospital for a check-up. You can watch and help the doctors in the operating theatre as they help teddy get better.

End the day by hopping on the hydrogen bus, supported by First Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and Stagecoach. 

Since April 2015, the city’s hydrogen buses have carried more than 165,000 passengers. The buses only emit water vapour, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, as well as being quieter and smoother than diesel vehicles.

Alongside a year-round programme of STEM education events, TechFest also runs Aberdeen and North-east Scotland’s annual festival of STEM. 

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