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Summer STEM day

Pupils from the North Worcester Partnership enjoy a trip to their local university.

Published: 8 July 2022

For their Summer term partnership event, the Worcester North Ogden Partnership worked collaboratively with their local university STEM Ambassador to host an event at Worcester University. The aim of the event was for partnership teachers to strengthen links with the STEM Ambassador so schools would begin to take full advantage of the facilities and resources at the university which are available for the schools to support future learning.

“We hoped that an event with a university would give pupils a window into further education, and even at such a young age we hoped the experience would enrich their learning and continue to inspire them and their interest in science,” explains partnership co-ordinator Sally Patterson, a teacher at hub school Grimley & Holt CE Primary.

Young students seated in a lab preparing to make rockets with plastic bottles

The day consisted of a variety of activities. The children first explored the geo-garden in the university grounds; using an App they could learn about (and view examples of) every rock type found in Worcestershire. They examined and compared soil brought in by each school to follow a key to identify its soil type and learnt about a soil auger, looking more closely at the different layers of soil modelled in a preprepared drainpipe.

“The university also has an amazing variety of skeletons to view and the children enjoyed learning about these animals,” says Sally.  “One child was able to tell the adults in great detail about the spurs on the ends of the ankles of the male platypus which has venom potent enough to kill small animals or cause intense pain to humans! These were clearly evident on the skeleton and pointed out by the child to the fascination of all the adults.”

“The children also got the opportunity to view a variety of samples and specimens under a microscope and this was one of the favourite activities of the day as most children had not ever experienced this in the primary classroom,” continues Sally.

The Worcester STEM Ambassador had set up the lab so the children could explore a range of scientific equipment.  Investigations included punching non-Newtonian fluids to see how they act as a solid but can flow like a liquid and seeing how air waves travel by watching the impact of their force travel to a curtain on the other side of the room.

The children also enjoyed a tour of the University laboratories and were shown a wide range of equipment and instruments, many of them costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, including a special chamber where they can take down the oxygen levels and temperature to test and examine human responses to low altitude or low temperature.

In the afternoon, the children worked in pairs and were challenged to make the best aero dynamic rocket in terms of design and flight and went outside to a launch site to test!  The day finished with a display of magic tricks where they enjoyed seeing colourful flames from fire breathing dragons.

Children in white lab coats outside watching preparations for a rocket launch from a seesaw

“The children were a credit to their schools and mixed beautifully with the children from across the partnership,” says Sally. “Feedback from the children was really positive. One child, at the very start of the day, actually said in conversation that they weren’t going to go to university. By the end of the day that child’s mindset had changed, whatever pre-conceived idea they had formed at 8 years old was replaced and university was somewhere he now wanted to go.”

Feedback after the event from parents was extremely positive too,” continues Sally. “One parent, passing on their thanks, messaged to say – ‘I am so grateful he had the opportunity to go, he absolutely loved every second of it and his face just lit up this morning when he was telling me every little detail of the day.  I’m afraid school might be a disappointment for him today, he’s ready to go to uni!’.

“Our partnership is certainly looking forward to strengthening links with Worcester University and the STEM Ambassadors that will support us to provide opportunities like this to as many children as possible in the future,” concludes Sally.

Two young students in white lab coats seated in a lab with their backs to the camera

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