Women in tech

Book Key Stage 5 sessions

Help students kick-start their career in STEM

STEM underpins all facets of modern life and evolves at relentless speeds. Whether it's helping to keep the nation's data systems secure, or educating the next generation of maths teachers, STEM is making a difference to the world.

To help your students learn about studying STEM subjects at university, and gain valuable experiences to help them decide which course is right for them, our Faculty of Technology offers a range of opportunities for Key Stage 5 students.

Here, you can find out what activities, tasters and talks are available, which we can adapt to suit different timeframes and levels of knowledge. And when you're ready, complete our STEM request form below.

Book a STEM session

Alternatively, if you have a request for STEM Fairs, bespoke sessions, lower age groups or a general enquiry, please contact stemoutreach@port.ac.uk.

Browse our STEM activities for colleges and sixth forms

Taster sessions

Our taster sessions are short introductions to subjects to get students to start thinking about university.

These consist of an introduction to the subjects, the available courses and the careers they can lead on to. This is followed by a topic talk, and often finished with a hands-on activity. These can all be run at your college and all kit will be provided by us.

Maths and Physics

Students will look at where the models we’ve seen on the news begin and how they’re built up mathematically - they will build their own SIR model (susceptible, infected, removed) and look at more complex examples.

Themes covered:

  • Logarithms & Exponents Differential
  • Equations
  • Rates of change

Using props and diagrams we will introduce the fascinating and imaginative branch of Mathematics known as Topology, and students will test and prove various theorems along the way.

Themes covered:

  • Working with angles
  • Formulae and functions
  • Solving simultaneous equations
  • Proving theorems.

A talk from one of our gravitational waves team about black holes, space-time and how gravitational waves are formed. There will be a physical  demonstration of how fast-rotating masses cause ripples in spacetime and students will put together a mini interferometer to see how laser interference allows us to detect distant events.

Themes covered:

  • Light interference
  • Black holes & Neutron Stars
  • General Relativity
  • Gravity

A clickable, virtual physics escape room – using a series of logic, mathematical and knowledge-based puzzles. The content is based on a broad range of topics from the GCSE and A-Level, and is designed to be a challenging problem-solving activity for A-Level students studying Physics.

Themes covered:

  • Broad range of GCSE topics
  • Problem solving


We look at the roles of digital forensic examiners and what they can do. Students have a go at cracking cyphers and then use a variety of techniques to test and exploit the security and vulnerabilities of a fake company website.

Themes covered:

  • SQL Injection
  • Cyphers
  • Steganography

All the advances in technology over the years, from games consoles to drones to self-driving cars require the Internet! Computer networks are now vital to us and so are those who are responsible for them – network engineers.

This session will practice with Internet addressing, investigating your service provider and how your ISP connects you to the rest of the world which forms a foundation to become a network engineer.

Themes covered:

  • Internet Addressing
  • Computer Networks

Civil Engineering and Surveying

Developing a dream building...

In this lively workshop, students run through some of the key areas when developing land. Given some information, students in small groups are tasked to come up with a big idea for developing a site: spend millions and see whose building passes the planning committee.

Themes covered:

  • Consultation/Design
  • Following a brief
  • Building Design
  • Site layout

Students will see a hydroflume in action and look at how structures can affect water flow and levels. Students will be challenged to solve issues that engineers must face.

Themes covered:

  • Hydrology
  • Bernoulli Equation
  • Water Engineering

*Currently in development but, if interested, please enquire via our booking form.

Mechanical and Design Engineering

Students look at examples of ways to innovate and are set the task of researching, designing and modelling a bike helmet. They will be challenged to think about every aspect of their design and how it fits the brief given.

Themes covered:

  • Engineering Process
  • Biomimicry

Students look at aerofoils, aerodynamics and the workings of a wing. They construct a glider from lightweight materials, balance its weight and then test their completed build.

Themes covered:

  • Aero/fluid Dynamics
  • Engineering Process

Energy and Electronic Engineering

We look at the importance of transistors in modern electronics and how they work. We look at the physics behind a wireless charger. Students then build the circuit to wirelessly transfer power and use a micro bit to program a system response to mimic a charging phone.

Themes covered:

  • Transistors
  • AC & DC
  • Magnetic Induction

A look at how hydrogen is produced and used for power and the benefits and drawbacks of hydrogen and battery vehicles. We then demonstrate the workings of a hydrogen fuel cell using simple fuel cell cars.

Themes covered:

  • Renewable Energy
  • Electrolysis
  • Fuel Cells

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Subject talks

Our academics can offer a range of talks across all our subject areas. These can either be on research, covering the exciting and groundbreaking work being carried out, or more general talks about a subject e.g ‘Why Study Engineering?’.

Talks available to book

Maths and Physics

Maths has been at the foundation of science and tech for 1000s of years and that is even more true today.

Maths graduates are much valued by employers for their analytical and problem-solving skills, and as such a maths degree opens doors to a huge array of different roles.

In this talk, we will describe what it is like to study maths at University and some of the many different careers maths graduates can go on to.

The benefits of studying mathematics, its career opportunities and applications in logistics and transportation.

In this talk we will show how geographical variations in the way that people speak, and animal noises, can be explained using ideas from mathematics and physics. Mathematical models of magnetism, in which atoms align their magnetic direction, can be adapted to describe language variations in space.

We will also see how speech sounds can be measured by training a neural network to recognise the different phonemes of human language – by converting them into images called spectrograms.

There has been an explosion in the number of interesting problems to which Mathematics can be applied in recent years, and in this talk we will try to give you a flavour of some of them: electric car batteries, novel spacecraft, sustainable farming, disease spreading, language evolution and even coffee brewing!

Black holes are extremely massive objects, usually forming from the collapse of stars over 25 times the mass of our Sun. As we look back into the past, we find unfathomably massive black holes with the mass of over a billion suns!

This talk will explore these black holes and you will find out how they could have become so massive in a period when large scale structures had only recently started forming.

100-200 million years after the big bang the universe was abundant in very massive stars formed of only the lightest elements. These stars burned very bright and very quickly. We will look at the explosive deaths of these stars and how they can be detected today.


Think of all the advances in technology over the years, from games consoles and smart phones to drones and self-driving cars. The role of computer scientists, networking, cybersecurity engineers in the future will be crucial as we become increasingly reliant on faster, more intelligent technologies.

The University of Portsmouth has played a key role in the way doctors and nurses care for patients in hospital. Using data science & artificial intelligence, we helped the Royal College of Physicians develop the National Early Warning Score, which is now used across the NHS to monitor deteriorating patients. The talk will describe how being able to analyse large amounts of patient data helps improve care and patient outcomes.

A deep dive into cyber security threats, exploits and solutions.

Did you know, females make up just 24% of the cyber security workforce?

This talk aims to motivate and inspire females in the UK to help close the gap. Explore the world of Cybersecurity, Digital Forensics and beyond as we empower females to look at the diverse range of careers in a fast-growing industry.

Civil Engineering & Surveying

An introductory talk about the important roles of surveyors play in modern day society, how their work can be related to day-to-day life and the challenges, opportunities and satisfaction that one may gain when studying a surveying degree and becoming a land and property professional.

Introduction to the world of Civil Engineering, what you will do on a Civil Engineering course and what kind of jobs it could lead to.

Pollution has been in the spotlight in recent years and has been something that the public has, rightfully, become concerned about. It comes in many forms, all of which are cause for concern: physical (microplastics), chemical (nutrients and hydrocarbons) and biological (pathogens).

This talk will give an introduction to general & marine environmental pollution, where it is coming from, what impacts it is having, and why we should be worried about it.

A topic of particular interest of the general public at the moment, microplastics are a newer type of pollution we are still learning about. In this talk you will learn what exactly they are, where they come from, where we find them, what it means for our environment and what it means for us.

This talk will consider wastewater engineering and environmental impacts of wastewater. It will also cover the role of nature-based solutions, such as reed beds, for managing waste water discharges.

About a billion people don’t have reasonable access to safe water. About a billion people live on less than $US 1 per day. These are mostly the same people.

Rainwater harvesting is catching rain on a roof and diverting it to provide drinking water at the house, which seems simple – just build a rainwater tank, connect it up, and water will flow. But rainwater systems can still fail for a variety of reasons, both hardware based and management (software) based.
The talk will discuss:

  • The potential of rainwater harvesting
  • When to use rainwater harvesting (and when not to)
  • What can go wrong when implementing rainwater harvesting in a low-income country
  • Looking at 'the whole system'

Mechanical & Design Engineering

A look at what studying Mechanical Engineering Degree is like, what you will learn, the opportunities it brings and the careers open to you as a Mechanical Engineering Graduate.

When you hear the words 'mechanical engineering', you might picture cars, engines, and bearings. But there's so much more to this field than meets the eye.

Mechanical engineering goes beyond cars, it's understanding how things work and how to push the boundaries of innovation. Imagine a world where the material you’re working with is not just stainless steel but something as intricate as your own bones.

In the University of Portsmouth we see mechanical engineering as a field that touches every aspect of our lives from the machines we use to the bones in our bodies.

Electronic & Renewable Energy Engineering

The UK has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2050 to combat climate change. A pledge has been taken to reduce the carbon emissions by increasing the contribution of renewable energy sources in electricity, heat, transport, maritime and industrial sectors.

The target of net zero emissions has led to a significant increase in jobs in renewable energy sector by National Grid, Wind farm developers, Solar photovoltaics project developers, Electric vehicle companies, Battery manufacturers (energy storage), hydrogen gas producers, utilities supply companies, and so on.

The energy efficiency measures and energy efficient buildings have added significant additional jobs. In this talk, we will discuss about the new course 'BEng/MEng Renewable Energy Engineering' at the University of Portsmouth.

Electronics plays a central role in modern everyday life. Studying electronics at university will allow you to become a part of the next generation of designers and developers, refining current designs, developing the next generation of solutions, and maybe being involved in the invention of the ‘next big thing’.

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Bespoke sessions

Our Faculty of Technology are keen to provide the best support we can your school or college, and we'd love to discuss how we can develop our outreach programme in order to give you and your students the most valuable experiences.

We're happy to look into developing new sessions that may support certain areas of the curriculum, or to give your college a specific combination of activities (e.g meeting our students, talks on certain areas of research or collaborating and supporting project work).

If you're interested in finding out more about this, please contact stemoutreach@port.ac.uk or let us know on our STEM booking form.

Work experience opportunities for students

Work experience is a great way to gain insight into all the different career opportunities a university can offer. We welcome requests for work experience from students from our local schools and colleges.

Please email schools-work-experience@port.ac.uk with the dates of your placement and what your interests are, and we'll get back to you.

Other things to check out

Browse our on campus Subject Taster Days, where experience of studying their favourite subjects at university, read more about our work with schools and colleges and take a tour of our technology facility.

A female student smiling at the camera and a college student at a university event

Subject events for schools and colleges

Get an insight into studying subjects at university with our subject-specific events and Taster Days.

Student with teacher in class

Working with schools and colleges

Our Recruitment and Outreach Team can show your students what higher education offers, and help you guide them towards achieving their goals.