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Pupils to learn about the challenges and opportunities of emerging technologies

25 Nov 2021

Pupils to learn about the challenges and opportunities of emerging technologies

Wirral-based Less Common Metals (LCM) have drawn on the expertise of Xplore! Science Discovery centre to turn a complex topic into a fun, interactive workshop for Key Stage 2 primary school children.

The workshop will focus on a project that addresses the challenges faced by companies that manufacture components for green technologies.

Rare earth elements (REEs) used in emerging technologies such as mobile phones, electric cars and wind turbines are mined all over the world, but a huge 90% of rare earth magnets sold globally are made in China. Using the earth’s finite resources to manufacturer green technologies creates an environmental conflict – a dilemma that many consumers are currently unaware of.

LCM are part of a game-changing extraction project that is tackling this global challenge head on. The project is called SecREEts and is funded by the European Commission research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 (GA no 776559). In looking for a solution the team have identified that REEs can be extracted from the fertiliser production process. Previously farmers were unwittingly spreading REEs onto their land but now the naturally occurring waste-product can be extracted and separated from the process before being crushed, melted and magnetised for use in new technologies.

This world-leading project is gaining momentum with the roll-out of the pilot creating a large number of jobs in the area. Public consultation is a key objective for LCM and by linking parts of the project to the national curriculum Xplore! has been able to create activities that will engage local children through an informative, relevant and fun workshop.

Georgia Macey, Marketing Officer at LCM commented “We needed to find someone who could listen to our requirements, design a bespoke workshop and help bridge the gap with schools.

After viewing a virtual tour of the science discovery centre and seeing how thought-provoking their exhibits are we reached out to Xplore! personally and asked if we could partner up to deliver workshops. With such creative and educational science shows we are excited to see the end results and children learning about this crucial industry.

Katie Williams, Business Development Officer at Xplore! added “We’ve got a huge number of innovative businesses on our door step with projects that are often hidden from public view. It’s critical that public engagement is used to highlight exciting developments and future careers. Through our links with local schools, we’re perfectly placed to bridge that gap.”

School workshops will be taking place in November. To find out how your school could access a free workshop contact info@xplorescience.co.uk.

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