Get students excited about science

More than 80% of children have already written off a career in science by the age of 10, according to new research.

The ASPIRES study by King’s College London found two thirds of children enjoyed science lessons at primary school, but were later put off the subject by a perception that it was an industry dominated by men in lab coats with ‘crazy hair’ and was only an option for the very brightest. Children need experiences inside the classroom and at home that show the “real-world” relevance of science to encourage them to stay engaged with it, the study found.

EDF Energy is launching ‘The Great EDF Energy Experiment’, a five year programme launched in partnership with the British Science Association, which is designed to challenge over 100,000 children to think differently about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The first experiment - The Big Bumblebee Discovery - will seek to ‘recruit’ thousands of children aged 7-14 to act as scientific researchers this summer. They will be asked to count the number of bumblebees they spot in their garden, school playground or local park. The results will be used by researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to map bumblebee numbers across Britain and what impact changing population numbers have on crop pollination. EDF Energy is encouraging parents and teachers across the UK to sign up by logging on to

The current lack of interest in science-related careers amongst young people could have serious consequences, with the Royal Academy of Engineering warning that it could create a skills gap in future. It estimates that 600,000 new STEM graduates are needed in the next six years just to maintain current employment numbers. By involving children in mass experiments like The Big Bumblebee Discovery, EDF Energy hopes to encourage more youngsters to see science as fun, engaging and relevant to them.

Katherine Mathieson, Director of Programmes at the British Science Association commented, “The British Science Association has a long history of engaging parents and their children with science in fun and unique ways. Working with EDF Energy to launch a new programme of Citizen Science investigations, addressing real scientific questions which relate to climate and environmental changes is a further step in our mission to get kids passionate about science in a long lasting and meaningful way.”

Over the last five years, EDF Energy has implemented and operated a successful learning and teaching tool with an online resource, ‘The Pod’, which has reached over 10 million school children. In this time The Pod has come to be a trusted source of education materials for teachers and students alike, making it the ideal platform for children across the UK to take part in The Great EDF Energy Experiment. Likewise, launch partner the British Science Association continue to run a number of powerful education initiatives including CREST Star, which has been enormously successful in engaging primary children with science and encouraging positive opinions of STEM over the last seven years.

To find out more about The Great EDF Energy Experiment – The Big Bumblebee Discovery, or for parents and teachers to sign up to take part, visit