Tinside to be turned into giant lab for STEM Mayflower 400 Big Splash


Testing homemade boats to destruction, experiments in how sound travels underwater and answering the big questions about why ships float but pebbles don’t – what better place in Plymouth to experiment than Tinside?

The stunning Art Deco Lido is being turned into an open air laboratory for two days – Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 July – for the STEM Mayflower 400 Big Splash.

The pool with the best view in the country is an apt location for hundreds of young people who will get inspired – and possibly a bit wet – by experimenting with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

A total of 30 experiments will take place around the pool over the two days for 9 to 13 year olds from schools across the city. There will also be two evening events so that families can also experiment together.

Cabinet Member Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Transformation, Education and Skills said: “We want to make learning STEM fun and these events are all about having fun in one of the best – if not the best – lido in the country.

“You’ve got the Breakwater in the distance, behind us Smeaton’s Tower – both incredible engineering feats.  It’s exciting times in Plymouth now – we have Smart Sound Plymouth, a testing area for cutting edge marine technology and strong marine and engineering sector right here.

“Plymouth needs more engineers, mathematicians and scientists and this administration has pledged to increase the number of young people taking STEM subjects at school, college and university. We want this event to be unforgettable.”

Alongside the open air lab, Plymouth’s first STEM conference will take place on Tuesday 16 July at the Terrace Café and Bar on the Hoe Foreshore. Professor Kevin Jones, the chair of Plymouth STEM will give an overview of the strategic plan and there will be table and panel discussions throughout the morning.

The events are part of the STEM Spectacular – a programme designed to inspire and enthuse young people.

There’s competitions to build the best bridge, 15,680 pupils are getting specially tailored workshops and events such as the Engineering Extravaganza,  Lego Discovery Programme and the South West Marine Careers Conference have been held. More events are in the pipeline.

Tina Brinkworth Plymouth’s STEM coordinator added: “Give young people just three great experiences with these subjects is enough to open their eyes to STEM qualifications and then onto STEM careers. 

“This is so important for Plymouth’s future.  Nearly 55 per cent of all employment in Plymouth is STEM sectors – these are highly skilled, highly paid jobs which can lead to long, rewarding and successful careers.  

Plymouth STEM is a collaboration between industry, Plymouth City Council and Higher Education and Further Education working to grow, keep and attract STEM talent and inward investment.  The aspiration is to become known as Britain’s STEM City.