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Enhancing STEM Academics' Public Engagement Skills

Lead Institution: University of Bristol
Collaborating with: Graphic Science, Lighting Up Learning Ltd

Adopter Universities - Enhancing Public Engagement > Outreach Activities - Northampton

Through adoption of the Enhancing STEM Academics' Public Engagement Skills project, the University of Northampton took the training and support provided to re-purpose its Junkbot (robots formed from household waste and simple electric items) activities for primary schools. Activities have now been developed for a range differing places as follows

  1. In-class (for example, a half-day session)
  2. One and half hour workshop as part of National Science and Engineering week
  3. An activity for a STEM club

The adoption activities at Northampton were led by Scott Turner ( Find out more in the case study below.

Project Highlights



1. Developed activities suitable for primary school children informed by the practices drawn from the Enhancing Effective STEM Public Engagement project

2. Created a new ‘junkbot’ based around the students producing a drawing bot

3. Created activities that are easily adaptable for different age groups, interests or length of session:

  • Drawing junkbots - a fairly easy introduction, good for younger student and for sessions less than 1 hour
  • Junkbot that moves in a straight line - more challenging and takes a longer time due to the experimentation time needed
  • Junkbots to collect small waste items - more challenging and needs a greater amount of time. Suited to older primary students

4. The project is sustainable:

  • Resources needed are low cost or often already available within the school (junk, electric motors and batteries)
  • The cost of delivering a small number of sessions is in-line with spend on similar outreach activities
  • Now the activities have been developed, they can be delivered by others

Case Study & Activity Plan

Please find below a case study of Northampton's engagement in the project, alongside session plans that should help you to implement similar Junkbot workshops. Should you like to know more, feel free to contact Scott at

Junkbot - Case Study

Junkbot - Session plan (in-school)

Junkbot - Session plan (STEM club)

Staff involved

Ed Drewitt
Project lead, University of Bristol

Claire Dimond
Graphic Science

Nicholas Garrick
Lighting Up Learning Ltd