Project information

Inspiring Children through Hands-on Experiences

Our independent charity aims to build a new collection of hands-on exhibits, interactive shows and engaging activities at Cambridge Science Centre in 2017.

These exhibits provide continuous inspiration to children and young people on pursuing interest in science, technology, engineering and maths

December 2016 - July 2018

Charity information: Cambridge Science Centre

Cambridge Science Centre logo
  • Need


    East Anglia contains many deprived communities (e.g Peterborough where 24% of children live in poverty). The growth of STEM industries offers possibilities to break this cycle of deprivation. Developing science capital is crucial to resolving these challenges. Children need opportunities to enjoy science to overcome negative perceptions of STEM. For 7 to 12 year olds and their families, our exhibitions inspire children and build a love of STEM, helping them take advantage of STEM possibilities.


    By giving children an exciting hands-on way to engage with scientific principles and their real world applications, we inspire them to explore STEM subjects and realise the exciting possibilities they contain.

    Our hands-on exhibits are accompanied by interactive shows and workshops, facilitated by our trained science communicators. These offer another way for children and young people to explore the ideas communicated in the exhibits, as well as introducing them related careers.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To communicate key scientific concepts through bespoke hands-on exhibits.


    » We will host a world class exhibition for the children and young people from across East Anglia and beyond, containing these hands-on exhibits.
    » Following the year-long exhibition, our exhibits will be used in our outreach programme, reaching underserved communities across the region.

    What success will look like

    Throughout the exhibition we will work with children, schools and families to chart the impact of our exhibits. We will use before and after surveys to chart what visitors learn.

    Aim 2

    To excite children and young people about STEM subjects and careers.


    » Our exhibits content will be reflected in shows and workshops which enrich understanding about potential careers.

    What success will look like

    Our monitoring will chart how children and young people's knowledge of STEM subjects and careers have rise, following a visit to the Centre.

    Aim 3

    To engage parents and teachers to support children's learning.


    » Parents and teachers will be welcomed to the exhibition and home learning activities relating to the exhibition will be made available.

    What success will look like

    We will survey parents and teachers to confirm if they are more confident in supporting children's learning using hands-on STEM activities after a visit to the Centre.

  • Impact


    We are working with the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education to develop a long-term evaluation of our work. This study will track the outcomes of our work and how we manage to inspire children and young people to follow STEM education and career paths through our exhibitions, shows and workshops. Our work also lays the basis for families and teachers to support children and young people with additional hands-on STEM activities following their visit.


    We have identified the following risks and mitigations:
    1. Completing the exhibits on time - mitigated by a detailed project plan with clear milestones.
    2. Large audiences - our track record suggests we will attract up to 30,000 visitors in year one. Efforts will be supported by a targeted marketing campaign.
    3. Staffing - we have a team of fully trained science communicators to interpret and facilitate engagements with our exhibition. They are able to make complex concepts accessible.


    We work closely with our donors and supporters. They will be engaged throughout the exhibition design through online updates culminating with a VIP taster event of the exhibition as it takes shape. Copies of our annual report, which will include the exhibition, will be made available.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 Exhibition desgin Series of research and design workshops
      £12,000 Exhibits design Developing learning objectives and planning into exhibition.
      £40,000 Exhibits build Exhibit build, test, adapt and install process
      £20,000 Exhibit purchase Buying in externally designed exhibits
      £5,000 Digital content design Developing related digital content for our existing app
      £5,000 Digital content delivery Additional digital support material
      £10,000 Marketing Advertising and social media campaign
  • Background


    We are the only hands-on science centre in East Anglia. Without our work there is no easy way for children, young people and their families, whether Cambridge residents or visitors, to access the history of Cambridge science and discovery or its exciting future. There is a profound need for our work to help disadvantaged and undeserved audiences. In Cambridge 17% of children live in poverty and these are the children least likely to access STEM education and careers.


    Audiences for the exhibition will include:
    1. Local children and young people - visiting with their families, children will have the opportunity to engage in free play with the exhibits, shows and workshops.
    2. Family members - accompanying their children, parents and family members will also learn about STEM.
    3. School children - we will host school visits where children can supplement their in-school learning through informal learning experiences.
    4. School teachers - with school visits.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are a unique science centre. Thanks to the efficiency of our operations, our average cost per serve is just £7.85, compared to a sector average of c. £15. We are the only year round science centre working in east Anglia to provide hands-on STEM learning for children and young people. Thanks to the modular nature of the exhibits that we design, build and purchase, we can deliver a full science centre experience in any community, no matter how remote across the region.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dave Ansell

    Dave is our Chief Scientist, who will oversee the project, including testing and installing the exhibition.

    Rachael Inglis

    Rachael leads the development of our exhibitions and is responsible for aligning exhibits with specific learning objectives.