STEM Outreach: why it’s so important and how to get started
19 June 2020
Does anyone know what engineering is? Silence. Elizabeth and I looked at each other and knew we had come to the right place. This simple question we asked in the first session of the science club marked the beginning of an exciting year of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) outreach during our Year in Industry placement here at Springboard Pro.
The primary school science club
Children presenting their egg-protector vehicles at Fen Drayton primary school science club
We ran the science club at Springboard Pro’s partner primary school in Fen Drayton. The project was initiated by a meeting with the head teacher. This was very useful as it allowed us to fit our project into the children’s syllabus and get advice on running the sessions. We eventually settled on a plan for a 4-week egg-protector vehicle challenge with the children designing, building, and testing their vehicles. The children particularly enjoyed presenting their sketches in a Dragon Den’s style pitch, negotiating when buying materials and competing against the other team on the last day!
Alongside the main project we also did some interactive theory sessions, experiments, and games, all on the theme of transport. The children learnt about why we put ice on roads, safety measures in cars, emissions, asthma, crumple zones and lots more! At the end of each session they particularly enjoyed recording what they’d learnt by colourfully drawing and writing on their lab coats kindly donated by greenlight for girls
We learnt almost as much as the children did by leading the science club. From the importance of good planning and timekeeping for the smooth running of the sessions to the value of hands on work and demos to keep them engaged. The children taught us 3 key things; how to ask lots of questions, how to negotiate and why there is no such thing as a bad idea when brainstorming! We always came back into the lab the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go after being around such enthusiastic and creative minds.