This was all pretty brilliant on its own, but then their teacher told me the following story. I had previously visited in November of last year to give a similar talk to the Year 5 students at this school. One of the girls in the class had, up until my visit, been adamant for a couple of years that she was going to be a hairdresser. After my visit, however, she had gone home and told her mother, "Mummy, I've changed my mind. I'm not going to be a hairdresser."
"Oh?" replied her mother. "What are you going to be now?"
"I'm going to be a space scientist. Or an engineer."
Five months later, she has not changed her mind. She's now one of the top-performing students in her science classes.
I know this girl is very young. I know she may as yet change her mind again. But if bringing to life the possibility of becoming a scientist or engineer to one girl, for whom that was a remote possibility at best, were literally the only effect my outreach efforts had ever had on any of the hundreds of students I've visited in the last twelve years*, it would be worth it.
* I'm fairly sure it's not.
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