Brilliant Ideas for STEM Activities at School

Below are some STEM activities that have been run and supported by the STEM Team recently. If you would like to host a similar event, please contact Emily Thorpe-Smith.


IET DIY Faraday Challenge

IET DIY Faraday Challenge

Brune Park Community College recently took 800 KS3 students off their timetable for three days of STEM activities! Part of the packed programme of events was the IET DIY Faraday Challenge. The event had been organised by the technology department along with STEM Ambassador, Scott Tomlinson of the IET and 1710 Naval Air Squadron. The event was supported by around a dozen other local STEM Ambassadors. Students worked in teams to devise and build a communications system to transport a message to a village deserted by a mountainous region. The event was a resounding success with every student contributing to a viable system.

 

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Springfield Secondary School’s ‘Eco-Schools’ STEM Club

Springfield Secondary School’s ‘Eco-Schools’ Club has been running since January 2014.  The pupil run club is attended by approximately 15 pupils (ages 11 to 16) and takes place weekly.  The aim of the Eco School Committee (or Springfield Eco Warriors, as they like to be known), is that the pupils themselves are in charge of improving the school and local environment through use of STEM projects. It has really helped pupils who are less confident to come out of their shells and gain experiences key to leadership and communication.

It is a true pleasure to see so many students engaged and enthusiastic about Ecology and the environment as it is such a pertinent international issue. There is a vast amount of support available for schools to run his type of initiative, I would highly recommend trying it to any school; from small independent primary schools up to large state secondary schools like Springfield, there is a benefit to be seen by all for pupils and community alike.

 

The club takes part in an initiative called HSBC WATER EXPLORERS.  This worldwide initiative encourages pupils to conserve water, learn how to save water and gives pupils weekly activities that earn points.  Springfield’s ‘Eco-Schools’ Club has been excelling:

  • They have been invited to London to the National Conference in September as one of the top 5 schools in the country (achieved by gaining points)
  • They have won a Water Festival which will be held at school in the near future and HSBC will help them plan it
  • Digital camera and now a motion sensor camera for use outdoors to look at wildlife.
  • Eco-warrior pupils running a focus day on water saving for the youngest pupils at Springfield

 

They are also currently designing a way to make or save energy at school and have a great design already underway with the help of the Design Technology Department.  The design is based on using the school Jungle Gym to create energy but to a smaller scale.  With the help of the design technology department who have started work on some scale models of the Eco Committee’s plans.


Video Conferencing

The STEM Team at Winchester Science Centre has taken part in a nationwide scheme to pilot the use of video conferencing to support STEM activities.

Court Moor School students worked with STEM Ambassador, David Hill, from The University of Portsmouth. The students were able to watch their prototype Greenpower cars being tested in a wind tunnel and discuss how to improve their design with researchers.

Students from The Burgate School spoke to STEM Ambassador Callie Seamen, a hydroponics expert based in Yorkshire. They were able to discuss their own projects with Callie and found out why some of their plants had died! They also had a virtual tour of Callie’s glasshouse.

Year 11 students at Cantell Maths and Computing College had a live web-chat during an assembly with STEM Ambassador Tania Berry from Lloyds Register. Tania talked about her career path to becoming an engineer. Cantell School now have an e-Mentoring Forum where 9 international STEM Ambassadors can answer careers questions posted by students.

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STEM Challenge for International Women's Day at Winchester Science Centre

To celebrate International Women’s Day, ten schools from around Hampshire took part in a STEM enrichment day. The students designed and built giant marble runs with K'nex kits, boxes, bottles and other general odd and ends, all with the help of over 30 female STEM ambassadors who mentored the students throughout the whole process.

Students’ inventions were judged against 5 criteria including most mechanisms and the most entertaining design. This activity was followed by a speed-networking session with the STEM Ambassadors so the students got to chat informally with their mentors about what women are doing in Hampshire.

The day culminated in a planetarium show created by one of our STEM ambassadors especially for the event!

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Future Careers Networking Evening

Over 100 local STEM Ambassadors, STEM Teachers, Careers Advisors and FE College professionals met at Winchester Science Centre recently to share ideas about career opportunities for young people and to find out how they could best support each other.
The event began with a delicious cream tea, followed by a mass speed-networking session for teachers and ambassadors. There was then some time for people to finish conversations, visit stands (17 local STEM employers and local FE colleges were represented) before adjourning to the Planetarium to hear the keynote speech. Prof Averil Macdonald spoke about why girls have resisted previous attempts to encourage them to pursue careers in physics and engineering and what can be done to address this.


The Hurst Community College - STEM Club

The Hurst Community College STEM Club are taking part in the Basingstoke and North Hampshire STEM Challenge.

"The students involved in The Hurst's entry to the Basingstoke STEM Challenge have entered into the task with bags of enthusiasm and ideas. After a couple of meetings discussing the challenge and its criteria the students came up with the concept of Irritable Avians along with ideas for how it could involve electronic engineering as well as other aspects of STEM. They then set to work on their design and concept launch video, which is now live on YouTube. Current meetings are spent coming up with design specifications, costings and sourcing materials. The students have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the project so far and they look forward to seeing it to fruition."

Mr. Hayford, Science Teacher at The Hurst.

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Isle of Wight Studio School - STEM Club

The Isle of Wight Studio School have an excellent STEM club and they are taking part in the Isle of Wight Hover Craft Challenge.

“In our STEM club we have been designing a working model hovercraft to race against other Island schools. Starting off full of enthusiasm but with little technical knowledge in November our students have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and several prototypes later have learnt a great deal about what makes a hovercraft work.  We have been supported throughout by the involvement of our STEM ambassadors from GKN, and have been lucky enough to visit both Hovertravel and Griffin Hoverworks whose engineers went out of their way to show off their amazing machines to us.  We returned the favour to Hovertravel by hosting a visit from their chief engineer who gave us the benefit of his expertise in skirt design. Our science lab has never been messier and our lunchtimes never busier, but we have all enjoyed this challenge immensely.”

Suzanna Jones, Teacher at Isle of Wight Studio School.

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The resources section of this website has many more inspirational ideas for STEM Club activities. To read more click here.