Science, Technology,


or Maths (STEM)

Young people at the NWG Innovation Festival


The Festival in its second year is a truly unique event, taking 12 societal and environmental problems and applying design thinking techniques to try to solve them in five action packed days. Once again, the focus on innovation will be mashed up with the feeling of a summer festival featuring a Marquee village and fun events every evening to engage various groups in the North East of England.

We would like to invite schools and pupils to the Festival and inspire the next workforce generation into Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) careers and design thinking.  This an opportunity to practice those important personal skills which will make a difference in the workplace, such as relationship building, communication skills, resilience, problem solving and confidence.

We would like to offer your school a half day of carousel sessions, which will be fun, informative and engaging. 

Each half day session can accommodate 30 students and they are aimed at either Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 students.  These interactive sessions, will be led by our partners -  Life Science Centre, Newcastle and Oracle and take place at Newcastle Racecourse on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 10 July
  • Wednesday 11 July
  • Thursday 12 July

Mornings – 9am arrival for 9.30am start and depart by c12.30pm

Afternoons – 12.20pm arrival for 12.50pm start and depart by c3.20pm

Life Science Centre: 

Pingball and The Poo Show (KS2)

This session is split in to two to allow for the shorter attention span of younger children. This session is suitable for up to a class of 30 and will focus on experimental play with a take on the ever-popular pinball machines. This game intends to develop relationship building and communication skills and encourages students to set their own goals and helps them discover fair testing for themselves. The focus of the activity is problem solving and energy conservation. This workshop follows the principles of ‘tinkering’, allowing pupils to make their own decisions and their own mistakes; it is about process rather than outcome. Participants in the Pingball workshop will also have the opportunity to see ‘Number 2, The Poo Show’.

Store and Ride (KS3)

This two-hour session is for students aged 11-14 to develop resilience, risk taking and confidence. The focus is on learning through experimentation. This session will accommodate 30 students who will get the opportunity to design and build a stored energy vehicle looking at creative engineering, resourcefulness and imagination. It encourages team work and continuous testing as part of the design process. The main focus of the workshops will be allowing the students to investigate forces and how they can be transmitted. This workshop follows the principles of ‘tinkering’, allowing pupils to make their own decisions and their own mistakes; it is about process rather than outcome.

Mission to Mars (upper KS2, lower KS3)

Using the ExoMars mission, landing a rover on Mars in 2020 as inspiration, this session develops problem solving and teamwork skills whilst the students program a Mars rover to search an unfamiliar terrain for evidence of water or minerals. This will concentrate their logical thinking processes enabling the students to realise real world, and out of this world applications for their coding skills


You may have heard of the Bloodhound Project aiming to smash the world land speed record by reaching 1000mph.  Oracle are collaborating with both Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) and their education programme to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers – we will be bringing a taste of this to Newcastle! Oracle will share how the impossible becomes possible, design thinking and basic coding. Students will have a chance to engage with the Bloodhound story. It will be a mix of activity, design and chat!  Activities will be tailored to KS2 or KS3 as appropriate.

Booking a place

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and will be free of charge.  Students will need to be accompanied by responsible adults at all times.  To book a place or to find out more please contact Gilly Durkin at or 07411 050538 by Friday 4 May 2018.  Again, please see the above for session timings.

Please note that when schools sign up for these sessions, teachers will be provided with more information on sessions prior to the Festival in July.  This will enable teachers to understand what the pupils will learn from this experience and how teachers can apply this in the classroom prior to the sessions in July.

We hope that you can join us at Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival.

With best wishes



There are opportunities for two teachers to attend each of the 12 Innovation Sprints at the Festival and work alongside people from a range of organisations. You will ideally be available for the full week (Monday 9 July to Friday 13 July) and contribute to finding solutions to the complex problems posed whilst maximising your learning. 

On Thursday 12 July and Friday 13 July, there will be a small number of opportunities to join a short sprint exploring how schools and employers can collaborate more effectively to enable young people to connect their learning with potential career pathways and develop appropriate skills and knowledge.

STEM Testemonials


Rebecca Bell , Usworth Colliery:

My testimonial: 

The event was extremely engaging for all of our children they loved the interactivity of making a Pinball game and the staff from the outset kept them entertained and on task. The children, while having a very fun time, hardly realised the amount of scienc e they were learning and using. A very worthwhile workshop that I know the children would love to do again!

Child's testimonial: 

I really enjoyed the afternoon , the pinball activity and the experiments that the teachers showed us. I particularly loved the marshmallow experiment. 

We would love to be involved in anything in the future. 

Craig Johnson, Stephenson Memorial

My testimonial: 

It was a fantastic event that has inspired and motivated our STEM learning and is definitely an event we would take part in again. Some children’s testimonials below:

Child's testimonial: 

Thank you for an amazing experience - I thoroughly enjoyed the session. I learnt lots of new things. One of my favourite things was the straw experiment. It was fascinating how both straws went round like a windmill. I also learnt a lot about gravity and if we didn’t have it we would be floating all over the place.  It was really fun - Lucy.

The range of experiments we took part in was really fun. I enjoyed watching the beach ball float from the leaf blower. It blew my mind because it was floating from air! Thank you - Grace.

I enjoyed designing and making my very own pinball game because I was given the freedom to experiments and be creative. I also enjoyed collaborating with my friends to create a masterpiece. Thank you Gilly for allowing us to take part in this amazing event! - Erin.

Keiron Sawkill, Castle View Enterprise Academy (Store & Ride)

My testimonial: 

Last week’s festival was a great opportunity for our students, who have chosen Design & Technology at GCSE level, to challenge and push themselves with a design and create task. They clearly enjoyed working as part of a team and thrived on the friendly competition of creating the best vehicle. They were very positive about the session and said they would love the opportunity to take part again. For me it was great to see the students work away from the classroom and show how they can be independent when given a design challenge.

Thanks again for inviting us and we would love to get involved next year with the year 8 students and as part of the year 6 induction like we chatted about.


Bedroom Challenge Feedback

In this competition, I and my team developed a room idea resulting in second place. The event was meaningful to principles of design thinking and gaining real world experience. We were also given a chance to talk to big companies such as Microsoft, ESH group, Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB),Intervese +ADD strategy and the REECE GROUP limited to give us inspiring ideas and push backs to the future bedroom. I also had an interview with Dr. Simon Lyster (Independent Non-Executive Director of Northumbrian water) about the young person’s view on Northumbrian Water/issues around supplying water with some interesting questions. Should the government own the water or should a company? Should water be cheaper for people who cannot afford water? Overall this was a very interesting. The NWG innovation was an enjoyable experience and I gained valuable experiences from taking part.