STEM week 13th – 17th March 2017
STEM week took place in school last week to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects and inspire students to consider STEM related careers in the future. STEM subjects are valuable not only because they can lead to exciting, rewarding career opportunities, but also because they enable individuals to engage in activities in a fun and stimulating way.
The events throughout the week included opportunities for different year groups to develop their STEM skills. They included a visit from Zoo lab, The Happy Puzzle Company and Starchaser rocket team. Y6 students attended from local primary schools to take part in a primary STEM day as well as other activities taking place in MFT and throughout the week.
Students became close to nature and got the chance to meet and interact with a variety of animals including a corn snake, a giant African land snail, a salamander, two domestic rats, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a tarantula!
Zoo Lab creates an interest in Science, nature and learning. Rob, the zoo lab ranger, had lots of fantastic facts about the animals and helped some of our Y7 & Y8 students overcome their fears during the visit.
Vex robotics allows students to combine Engineering ingenuity, Mathematical application and Computer programming interface to complete challenges of varying difficulties. In context, programming, code and automation is a major part of modern manufacturing and product development. The use of VEX robotics allows students to think about the types of robotics and how they are used in industry, research and education.
A robot is a machine that can be told to carry out a set of tasks… and you get to build the robot then tell it what to do! Could you create a real life C3PO? A fully automated car? We use robots every day and make them do all kinds of things. For example, they can make cars, save people’s lives and lift heavy objects.
Do you want a career that helps make the future possible? Students use basic command programming to operate a range of motors that carry out different operations. Further advanced programing integrates the use of multiple types of sensors. The activity provides that first insight into robotics and aims to spark a curiosity that inspires students to pursue an interest and develop a career in robotics. A less tangible benefit is that it encourages students to work collaboratively and clearly brings about a sense of team spirit as team names are created and the desire to calculate the correct programming is clear to see.
STEM club experiment making slime!
The STEM club enjoyed creating their own slime by experimenting with different consistencies of PVA and a borax solution. This was a great opportunity for students to learn more about Chemistry and discuss the properties of polymers.
Y6 Primary STEM
On Tuesday 14th March, Northfield hosted a STEM event for y6 students from Pentland Primary School, Roseberry Primary School, Bewley, Priors Mill C of E Primary School, Wolviston Primary School and Billingham South Primary School. The event was designed to help ease transition into Northfield in September, encourage team work and collaboration and most importantly to promote the importance of STEM.
Students took part in 2 different activities during the day; a forensic science investigation lead by Northfield's own science leaders and peer supporters, and a formula 1 activity. Both activities were engaging, extremely relevant to real life with a strong focus on STEM.
The forensic science investigation required the students to solve a murder mystery. They were given background information of the case, character statements of 6 suspects and most importantly evidence required to solve the case. Evidence analysis involved analysing hair fibres and fingerprints, identifying blood types, conducting flame tests and measuring maggots! After gathering analysing evidence students had to work as a team to identify the killer from their six suspects and justify their reasoning. This activity helped students understand the importance of evidence in a case and how easy it was to jump to conclusions without having evidence to back it up.
Students also took part in a formula 1 race, they designed pit stops with the best ones winning prizes and also made formula 1 cars using a CNC Router and a 3D printer and had the opportunity to race them: with the top 3 fastest winning prizes. One student was heard to say “the racing was scary when the cars went fast”!
Overall, the day was a huge success with primary students saying it was “the best day ever!”, “awesome” and “amazing and interesting “, they thanked Northfield science leaders and peer supporters for leading it.
By Rebecca Dunnill and Mia Roach
The Happy Puzzle Company
On Wednesday 15th March, the Happy Puzzle Company visited Northfield school to host a Puzzle Challenge day for all year 7 students. All students participated in a variety of different puzzle challenges which required collaborative learning with careful strategic team planning in order to find a solution. Students were encouraged by the programme leader to overcome difficulties by approaching problems from a different perspective. Activities included teams trying to balance 24 Penguins at the same time on top of a floating iceberg and solving a series of other hands-on brainteasers.
Starchaser Rocket Technology Day
On Thursday 16th March 80 students took part in Starchaser’s Rocket Technology day. The cutting edge educational experience contributes to the delivery of the national curriculum and reinforces key STEM subject areas encouraging students to apply classroom learning to exciting real life applications. Starchaser Industries is a privately held, high technology group of companies that specialises in the development, operation and commercialisation of space related products and services. Steve Bennett CEO of the company delivered a presentation introducing the origins of rocketry and human spaceflight. He also put on a Propulsion Lab show which included a spectacular series of demonstrations and experiments that highlight the technical issues of rocket propulsion. Students got to take part in a Rocket Factory workshop where they worked in teams to build rockets that were launched using real rocket fuel, in a spectacular and competitive conclusion to the day’s activities.
“I really enjoyed today it opened my eyes to different STEM career opportunities”
“Today was amazing, I am inspired to follow my dreams in life and work hard at STEM subjects and Engineering”