The Curiosity Cube, a retrofitted shipping container transformed into a mobile science lab, stopped in Birmingham last week. Staffed by 19 faculty members and employees of the University of Birmingham, the Curiosity Cube visited Crocketts Community Primary School and Blackheath Primary School.

This second-time customer partnership event model between Merck and the University of Birmingham yielded an impact in over 366 students. During the Curiosity Cube visit, students had the opportunity to interact with the local STEM experts.

A Year 4 student at Crocketts Community Primary School, exclaimed: “It was really fun and I learned a lot like we shouldn’t throw plastic into the sea because it can harm animals. I think it is good for everyone to learn about science. If I do listen to what the scientists say, it will help the environment a lot.”  

Rachel Burgess, a Senior Outreach Officer at University of Birmingham, said: “We've worked with Merck for almost two years now in a partnership. I helped to get the Curiosity Cube in primary schools across the Birmingham area and also to recruited volunteers from the University of Birmingham.

“It has been really lovely to work with the Year 3, 4 & 5 students at the environmental contamination experiment station, to get them inspired and curious about science. They were really engaged, weren't shy at all, and had lots of questions to share with us. It is also great to see that as they leave, we have sparked that curiosity for science.

“I'd highly recommend this partnership.” Iain Ferris, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham said volunteering at the Curiosity Cube has been a valuable experience. “It has been really fun taking part at the Curiosity Cube and engaging with the potentially new scientists.

“From a personal perspective, this has been very rewarding and valuable experience. I’ve had to adapt my teaching style to suit a new audience. I would recommend to anyone, if they have the opportunity to volunteer on something like this, that they really take that opportunity and go for it.” 

Salma, a Crocketts Community Primary School Year 4 teacher said, “My students were all so enthusiastic at the Curiosity Cube. The experiments are hands-on so they have been so engaged and engrossed in all the activities. I love how fascinated they with the VR experiment, I was also fascinated by it.”