18 Mar 2013:
More than 350 students from 50 schools across the South of England will be celebrating National Science and Engineering Week at IBM's annual Blue Fusion event hosted at Europe’s largest software development facility, IBM Hursley. The students will need to use quick thinking, scientific knowledge and teamwork in a number of fun activities, designed to inspire and encourage 14 and 15 year-old students to develop their interest in Science, Technology and Engineering.
The series of one day events, starting on Monday 18th and finishing on the 21st, are organised by IBM volunteers, many of whom are part of the IBM Graduate Programme. Blue Fusion has been run for more than a decade, and due to increasing popularity, this year IBM has invited even more schools to participate. To maximise the educational benefits, teachers are also encouraged to follow up with classroom exercises that build on the themes explored. This year's new set of activities for the students are:
Vital Vaccine (Drug Discovery, Chemistry)
Vital Vaccine is a team-based game run on computers which is designed to expose students to the major concepts in drug discovery and how Chemistry can benefit society. It does this through a fictional environment that allows players to stop outbreaks of fictional viruses. Each outbreak requires the team to create a new vaccine and deploy it. The team monitors their progress with a world map, which continually displays the reach of the virus.
Invention Lab (Invention and Physics / Physical game)
In a fun, physical game based on Physics, the Professor needs help to give intelligence to his monster. On a large game board, the team gets to work on activities such as constructing a pendulum, solving a cryptographic problem and playing around with resistors on a circuit. The team has to ensure they work together or they will not be able to maximise the monster's intelligence.
Pirates of Hursley Bay (Discovery)
This activity is inspired by this year's National Science and Engineering Week theme of Invention and Discovery. In this ocean discovery computer game, players will take on the roles of pirate crew members aboard Captain Featherbeard's ship - The Titan. Over the course of 4 levels the crew will sail the seas as helmsmen, lookouts and engineers and work together as a team in order to accomplish their goals: claiming treasure, discovering new islands and engaging in battles with legendary sea creatures.
Cannon Conundrum (Physics)
This Physics-based projectile computer game has a team of players control two cannons to shoot at targets. There are puzzles that must be solved in order to hit all the targets, and the team can use special items and a variety of ammunition types to help them. Teamwork and communication are key because the game cannot be beaten if the team does not work together. The game demonstrates some very simple Physics concepts such as magnetism, gravity, buoyancy, boiling and melting.
Big Blue Rover (Discovery / Technology algorithms)
Students are off to space in the Big Blue Rover computer game. Each group works together as a mission team exploring the surface of Mars, designing and equipping their Rover to deal with unfamiliar terrain, overcome obstacles and collect important samples for research. Using the information from their mission briefing, students will program the Rover with a decision-making tree, and learning high level programming concepts along the way.
Fortron (Invention / Technology)
In a more in-depth programming environment, students are immersed in basic coding concepts within a computer game setting. Meeting basic concepts such as loops and selection statements, the game requires parts of the code to be changed in order to progress through the levels. The user is captured into the computer's world and must beat the virus that is holding them, in order to escape from the system.
About IBM Hursley and the Community Programmes
In 1958, IBM took ownership of Hursley House and the surrounding grounds. Over the past 50 years, the Hursley Laboratory has continued the commitment to corporate citizenship that dates back to IBM’s founding; encouraging employees to take part in charitable events locally, within the wider community and even internationally.
This timeless site plays host to a range of programmes to engage school-aged children in Science, Maths, Technology and Engineering subjects. By engaging talent at an early age and encouraging prolonged study in industry related subjects, IBM continues to employ expertise in technology to address social and education issues.
Beyond Blue Fusion, for younger students of primary school age, IBM also hosts events such as XploreIT and Try Science days as well as think.IT. The latter is designed especially to inspire girls to take an interest in continued study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
News releases related to IBM's Smarter Planet initiative