British scientists have created 3D-printed meals for a school in east London to inspire an interest in science subjects among young pupils.
Scientists from the annual Big Bang Fair, which promotes science, technology and maths (STEM) subjects, worked with St Helen's Primary School in Canning Town to create dishes such as geometric fish and chips, cauliflower cogs and a pie in the shape of the mathematical constant of 'Pi' as part of the project.
"We were delighted when the Big Bang Fair approached us to be part of the 3D-printed school dinners project," said Claire O'Sullivan, a teacher at the school.
"Demonstrating STEM in this way is a fantastic opportunity to allow our pupils to see innovative technology first-hand and there is nothing that gets them more excited than bringing classroom learning to life," she said.
The meals, served during school lunchtime this week, followed a survey by the Big Bang Fair that found 71 per cent of 11-16-year-olds think it is crucial to have access to this kind of technology at school not just in science labs and classrooms, but the school gym, playground and even the canteen, with 40 per cent believing it will enable them to learn something while they eat.
"Our research and this trial show just how big an appetite there is amongst young people to experience new technologies," said Beth Elgood from EngineeringUK, organisers of the Big Bang Fair.
"Building on young people's curiosity about how they might shape the world in the future and inspiring them to think about where their science, technology, engineering and maths studies might take them, is what the Big Bang Fair and Competition are all about," she said.
The team hopes the futuristic meals, being dished out by the school's cooks alongside engineers, will inspire children to take up careers in STEM-related fields.
Brenda Yearsley, UK Schools and Education Development Manager, Global Social Innovation Team at Siemens, a long term supporter of the Fair, added, "3D printing is fast becoming a mainstream technology but that makes it no less groundbreaking and exciting, with a vast number of applications across sectors, from medicine to motor sports, improving lives across the board and enabling STEM specialists to make ever bigger leaps and bounds in their fields".
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