STEM Week 9 to 13 March 2020

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.

Events throughout the week included opportunities for different year groups to develop their STEM skills.

Vex Robotics Competition

Students in Y7 have been programming Vex robotics as part of the Technology curriculum. Vex robotics allow 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. During STEM week the students had an opportunity within lessons to build and play squared away on the new challenge field perimeter. STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn skills in teamwork, leadership and communications. Northfield school have participated this year in the regional Vex Robotics Tournament and we are hoping to get through to the World Championships next year! 


Zoolab visited some of our year 8 students to allow them to further their learning about adaptation and interact with some very special animals. The students enjoyed the interaction with the creatures and Rob the ranger. They were very interested in his career with many asking relevant questions about working with animals and how they could achieve that. Which linked nicely with the Careers lesson that the students had done last week. We were also able to link a group of PP student’s interaction with the animals to the “Find your Brave “mental health week that we did during children’s mental health week in February.

The students all “faced their brave” with many choosing to hold snakes, rats and giant snails! The ranger commented on the exceptional behaviour of our students and the intelligent questions that they asked him.

I’m a Scientist get me out of here!

During STEM week some year 7 classes gained an insight into the life and career of a Scientist by taking part in “I’m a scientist get me out of here” Supported by the University of Oxford. I’m a Scientist is an online activity where school students connect with real scientists about real science. It’s a competition between scientists, where students are the judges. Students challenge the scientists over fast-paced online text-based live CHATs. They ASK the scientists anything they want, and VOTE for their favourite scientist to win a prize of £500 to communicate their work with the public.

Our students took part in the Copernicum, a general zone, featuring scientists working in a range of different area. They asked a range of questions including the scientist’s views on climate change, Corona virus as well as personal questions on their jobs and roles in science.

Binuraj was voted the favourite scientist by our students as they found him interesting and he gave students self-confidence and encouraged self-belief.

Primary STEM Day

On Tuesday 10th March, Northfield hosted a STEM event for Y5 students from Glebe, Oakdene, Wynyard, Crooksbarne, St Pauls and Wolviston Primary schools. The event was designed to give students the opportunity to take part in two different new STEM activities; a forensics science investigation and a rocket making workshop. Activities were led by our Y9/ 10 STEM mentors.

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 and conducting flame tests.  After gathering and 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 model rocket workshop, they designed a logo for their own rocket and rendered them using tonal shading. They then has to construct the rocket by rolling it and adding a nose cone on and flights. The students then got to launch their rockets outside on the afternoon!

Overall, the day was a huge success with primary students saying it “It was a fun experience” and “Launching the rockets was really fun and exciting, the class loved it!”, they also thanked Northfield STEM mentors for leading it.

PRIMARY Science visit

On Tuesday 10th March Northfield science club visited Priors Mill to take part in their British Science week, and to coincide with Northfield STEM week. Students planned a session looking at the differences between scientists and chemical reactions, then helped deliver the session to their whole cohort of Y5. The session involved students drawing what they thought a scientists looked like then counteracting their images with famous people who are also scientists such as Harry Hill and Lisa Kudrow. This was followed by a series of practicals that the Priors Mill students carried out with the support of Northfield students investigating how reactions presented differently. The session was thoroughly enjoyed by both sets of students as well as teachers.

STEM club Crest Award

During STEM week 16 year 8 students and 2 year 10 students took part in the CREST award. The award aims to develop students scientific reasoning by planning and investigating a project linked to a common theme. The students wanted to investigate the effect of whether branded cleaning products were more effective, in light of the current situation in the UK. The students spent the day researching the price and reviews of a variety of cleaning products, then planned to carry out two experiments, one investigating how well the product cleaned permeant marker off an item and one to see how well it killed bacteria. The students rated the cleaning products ability and are still to review the bacterial plates. In the afternoon students started the task of writing up their findings, considering the best way to present their research, just like they would if they go to study science further. The students had an excellent day and felt like ‘real scientists’ after their day. The students now need to submit their final write ups to be presented with their Bronze CREST award.

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. Despite the windiest conditions Steve had ever seen in his 20 years of rocket launching, the students had a fantastic day!

Centre for Life trip

On Friday the 13th March, 30 Y8 students were invited to the Centre for Life to conclude STEM week. The trip allowed students to explore the Science Centre by visiting the space, imagination and brain zone. Students also enjoyed a show in the science theatre. On the afternoon students took part in one of the Life Centres workshops which was a forensic investigation. Students worked scientifically to gain knowledge of some of the techniques used in forensics investigations and developed their critical thinking skills to decide if the evidence was conclusive or not!