Learning to Promote STEM Excellence

January 2018

Learning to Promote STEM Excellence

Winner of the STEM car building challenge, Year 9 student, Cameron H with his remote control car.

At the beginning of the academic year, our STEM Co-ordinators planned a comprehensive range of exciting activities and learning experiences to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The first of the scheduled events involved students in Year 7 taking part in a fun workshop in partnership with the Sea Cadets. The workshop, which focused on buoyancy, offered a fun and innovative way to learn and develop skills through a range of practical hands on activities and challenges.

Students initially learned about the theory of buoyancy and considered how it is used by Engineers in many situations. They also moved on to relate their knowledge to unknown situations.

For the STEM Challenge, students became Engineers for the day and were tasked with finding a solution to a given scenario. With a selection of materials to choose from, they worked together in pairs to design and construct a prototype boat that could be used to carry aid to a stricken region. The session culminated in an activity where teams tested how successful their boat would be in completing its mission!

A second event saw 130 Key Stage 3 students take part in a session led by 'Solutions for the Planet', an organisation which delivers sessions which focus on sustainability issues.

Students learned about the effects of global warming and the potential damage to our planet should preventative steps not be taken. They then worked in teams to develop and present their ideas for solutions that would help to protect our environment in the future. They presented some outstanding ideas including suggestions for the development and use of renewable energy sources.

As part of our STEM programme, students in all year groups are able to take part in a themed competition each term. In the first, students were invited to design and build a model car that was capable of movement.

Students could take part in the challenge as an individual, join forces with friends to form a team or even enter as a whole tutor group. Students had three weeks to develop their ideas, build the car and submit their entry to Science Teacher, Miss Ford, who organised the competition as House Manager for Wolsey.

Year 9 student, Cameron H, pictured here, who entered the competition as an individual, was declared the Key Stage 3 winner with his excellent remote-control car. Cameron used his knowledge of electronics to create his car using lego pieces and recycled parts.

King James I Academy, South Church Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 7JZ