Tech Deck

School Travel Organiser discovers why the Tech Deck and Education Centre is a sound destination for a STEM-related school trip.

The Tech Deck is an interactive STEM education centre in Portsmouth, that wascreated by Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing team, Land Rover BAR, in 2016. The Education Programme is run by their official charity, the 1851 Trust.

The centre takes up an entire floor of the Land Rover BAR headquarters – home of the working professional sports team – and provides an immersive experience that explores how STEM subjects are applied in the context of sailing and elite sport.

Over 40 designers and engineers are part of the team who have designed and built the highly innovative wing-sailed foiling catamaran for the purpose of winning the America’s Cup for Britain.

School trips to the centre have been developed for upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils with the aim to ignite an interest in STEM subjects while increasing awareness about boating and sailing. As well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, a trip to Tech Deck can also covers topics like textile design, hi-tech materials, nutrition and mechanisms.

Pictured: A class at Tech Deck, Portsmouth.

What does a typical school visit include?

School groups visiting the centre will get to experience real-life scenarios by interacting with the exhibits at the Tech Deck.

These sports-related displays teach things like how power is generated; how wing sails work; the strength of materials; and how speed can be controlled.

In addition to exploring the exhibits, teachers can choose from a number of workshops taught by the 1851 Trust’s Education Manager, an experienced science teacher.

Workshops are aimed at Key Stage 3 but can be tailored to suit upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 groups. These sessions take place in an on-site classroom that uses features like iPad apps to investigate practical data collection.

Examples of these workshops include Marvellous Mechanisms, Wings & Sails and Invasive Species.

Marvellous Mechanisms involves pupils learning about the principles of pressure and hydraulic systems. Students will design their own hydraulic system and test its effectiveness.

Learning objectives include understanding that pressure is a force applied on a certain area; that pressure in liquids acts in all directions; and that liquids cannot be compressed.

Wings and Sails, meanwhile, focuses on the theory behind wind ‘lift’ and explores how air flows over a curved surface. In this practical workshop students will design, make and test their own sails using the in-house wind tunnel.

They will look at the evolution of sail design from past to present, comparing samples of the different materials used over time and investigating which sail shapes produce the most lift.

Other STEM workshops include Cutting Edge Materials, which investigates why certain materials are used for different items (like clothing and boat parts), and Smarter Futures, a session that explores how Land Rover BAR is working towards being the UKs most sustainable sports team.

Pictured: Learning first hand during a STEM workshop.

Booking information

At the Tech Deck, school groups of up to 32 pupils can be catered for at one time, and sessions last two and a half hours. A morning or an afternoon option is available, and there is a seating area should a break be required.

Visits are free of charge.

School travel organisers should call 01489-587875 or e-mail to make a booking. Alternatively, bookings can be made through the website.


For teachers who want to take the Tech Deck experience back to the classroom, the 1851 Trust and Land Rover BAR also provide BT STEM Crew, a digital learning platform.

ll the BT STEM Crew resources are free to access for registrants and everything is designed for the latest curriculum specifications, supporting Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Design & Technology.

This package of free resources includes immersive introductory films, interactive quizzes and downloadable worksheets.

Teachers can register to access the full set of free downloadable resources at  

For further information, visit