The Big Bang Fair – PART 1 (BEFORE THE DAY!)

The Big Bang Fair – PART 1 

Visit the Big Bang Fair Website - The OR Society’s Lego Furniture Factory

So it hasn’t happened yet and already my mind is in overdrive about it!! I spent yesterday printing and laminating A4 instructions and today I’ve been following up suppliers left right and center to ensure everything arrives in time!

I’ve attended the event before (so am very familiar with the set up and idea) – but with different companies. I used to work for large corporate companies and was a very small fish in a big pond. I was one of the many people who turned up on the day to help at the event, but with minimal input beforehand!! I was never involved in organising the conference call with volunteers, sorting out suppliers and the artwork or negotiating the budget for it. At The OR Society, that’s very different. I do it all! And it’s been thoroughly exciting (and I hope thoroughly worthwhile)!

So what is this event you ask?

The Big Bang Fair, run by Engineering UK is the largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fair in the UK. It celebrates the jobs, people and innovations within the STEM world and hopes to inspire the next generation, through interactive demonstrations and exhibitions.

The national fair, held at the NEC in Birmingham in the middle of March attracts about 22,000 children a day (now that’s a lot of people). It’s been so successful there are now spin off ‘near me’ big bang fairs (aka local fairs) which happen on a much smaller scale but with a similar remit.

So back to the planning … how’s it going?! Great so far!

We’ve got freebies arranged - we’ve got some AWESOME stickers to give out as well as some fantastic sliding puzzles for children (and adults) to have a go at! We’ve also sorted teacher packs, leaflets and the all important career brochures for those who want further information to take away and read.

Of course, we will have some experts on the stand to answer all your OR related questions too! We’ve got those working in OR in academia (think universities), as well as those working in OR in industry (think Tesco, the Government and British Airways). These people will give you a real life insight into what it’s like to work in OR. They can tell you all about their journey, how they got into it, and more importantly why you should consider it as a career.

Alongside this, we’re also running our infamous ‘Lego Furniture Factory’ workshop. Based on an Operational Research technique called Linear Programming, we use lego bricks to excite children and get them building tables and chairs. We get them to work out the cost of a chair, the profit on a table and of course the optimal amount to make. We get them to graph it, plot the options and work out the feasible region. For those who are really engaged,  there’s even an extension task they can take home which uses a programme called Solver (which is an add on in Microsoft Excel).

A delivery of lego arrived this week ready for it, and let me tell you, it’s all super exciting!!

I have one final plea though – we are STILL looking for more volunteers to help us out! The more volunteers we can get along, the more young people will get out of it, the more the volunteers enjoy it (because they can take regular breaks etc) and the more smoothly it goes for everyone! So please – if you have ONE day (or even half a day) that you can spare to help out and attend The Big Bang Fair…. Please get in touch! It's happening between the 14th - 17th March and we’ll cover all your travel and make sure you’re not out of pocket for attending the day.

Interested? Bored? Hopefully not the latter ….

Tweet us @ORinSchools or @TheORSociety or drop us an email:


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