A LEARNING day focussed on STEM subjects gave schoolchildren the opportunity to try new skills, which will help them in later life.

The event, hosted by The Corsham Institute, aimed to improve young children's abilities in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Year five students from Colerne primary school and Corsham primary school built towers out of household objects, used chemicals to solve a Harry Potter themed mystery, learned binary and tried out virtual reality technology.

Trevor Reid, head of fundraising and marketing for Corsham Institute, explained there is a 'big skill gap' in the country in terms of people's skills with technology and that a lot of schools cannot teach the necessary skills required for work.

He said: "Our challenge is to reduce this skill gap.

"This event is all about encouraging kids to think creatively using the STEM subject areas.

"As a charity, our aim is to host learning days like these to help teach the children valuable life skills."

Colerne year five and six teacher, Mrs Wynn, explained how important events are for young children.

She said: "It's great for them to do something practical.

"It's sometimes important for children to learn while having fun, and not realising they're doing something subject specific.

"Corsham Institute invited us to this event and we were more than happy to attend."

One of the most popular activities of the day was the 'Ex-straw-dinary Heights' challenge, in which children were given 10 minutes to build the tallest free-standing tower out of straws, sticky tape and lollipop sticks.

Rowan, a year five student, said: "When it's a competition, you really want to win.

"We also learned that if we worked together we could build an even bigger tower!"

Oliver, who was a fan of the virtual reality activity, said: "VR is much more fun than we thought it would be."