On Thursday afternoon a group of slightly nervous year 9 students made their way from the CLV to Cragside CofE Primary school nearby. These were the STEM Quest club leaders. Their mission was to run a STEM Quest club for year 4 and 5 pupils in the primary school.
We’d spent some time with the year 9’s before half-term trying out different activities based around science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM of the title. The year 9’s then thought about how each activity might work with primary school children, what they might need to change, and how they could best explain the activity to the younger children. For four of the activities, two students have taken responsibility for leading the session – including thinking about what instructions they need to give and what safety issues them might need to think about.
For the first session Kira and Charlotte were in charge. The aim of the session was to create a 30cm high table which would hold a water bottle. However, there was only newspaper and roll of sellotape to work with. The girls explained the activity to the very excited year 4s, and then the planning and building began.
It was great! The secondary students made the primary pupils feel at ease. They were supportive of the plans that the primary pupils came up with, without trying to impose their own ideas. It was a hive of activity, and the adults in the room could stand back and watch the progress of the work with pride.
People who work in science and engineering don’t often need to use newspaper to build tables. However, although the activity isn’t really representative of what scientists and engineers do, the skills that the children used are. They were creative, they planned their structure, they tested, they reassessed their design, worked in a team and had fun.