Ditcham Park School STEM Programme 2018/19
Ditcham Park School launched an exciting whole school STEM Programme at the start of this Academic Year 2017/18. Conscious that technology is changing the way we live and the way we work, Ditcham Park School’s STEM programme is designed to realise one of the School’s Aims to ‘Prepare pupils for the Future’ by providing our pupils with technological skills such as coding and an awareness that technology is transforming the workplace and providing new career opportunities.
The STEM Programme
At the core of our STEM program is the timetabled STEM curriculum lessons that take place both in the Junior (KS1&2) and Senior (KS3&4) school. In the Junior school these lessons are planned and delivered by the class teacher with expert support from their science and maths co-ordinators. In the Senior School, students receive compulsory STEM lessons once a week in Years 7, 8 and 9. These STEM lessons focus on the skills and habits of mind required to be successful in our new digital age. Students are challenged to be creative, problem solving, critical thinkers and designers in a series of workshops all taught by specialist teachers. Some of these STEM lessons have included learning how to code using Lego Mindstorm robots, building a Siemens Greenpower Challenge Car and studying Science Fiction literature and film. This compulsory aspect of the curriculum is really important to help students become informed a
nd aware of STEM careers before making option choices. We also offer comprehensive extra-curricular STEM workshops during the school day including participation in some of the most exciting national STEM competitions such as BP, Shell, First Lego League and the National Science and Engineering Competition.
STEM Speaker Programme
To complement our curriculum lessons we have introduced a STEM speaker programme to provide an opportunity for our pupils and their parents to meet and listen to inspirational figures with a STEM background. Our first speaker in the Autumn Term was Futureologist, David Smith who talked about future careers. The second speaker in the Spring Term was Director of Operations for Google UK, Craig Fenton, who talked about Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Our third speaker in the Summer Term was Dr Sam Aaron who invented Sonic Pi and uses his coding skills to compose music. Helen Sharman CMG OBE, the first Briton in space, visited Ditcham Park School as our guest of honour for our Founder’s Day and Prize Giving. She delivered a fascinating talk about her training and experiences as an astronaut.
STEM Educational Visits
Students have been on inspiring day trips to visit the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) headquarters in Portsmouth and the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, the largest STEM exhibition in the UK.
STEM Week & STEM Fair
On Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th July, the Senior School students spent one day off-site on a STEM inspiration trip. Destinations of these trips included Winchester Science Centre, the Science Museum in London, and Thorpe Park. The second day consisted of the students taking part in a project designed by the Royal Society of Chemistry back at school called Mission Starlight. Completion of this global experiment on UV Protection can be used to achieve a ‘Bronze CREST Award’ awarded by the British Science Association. Over 67% of our students have been inspired enough by the day to work on the project over the summer holidays in order to achieve either a Bronze or perhaps a Silver CREST award!
On Wednesday 11th July our STEM Fair took place representing the climax of our programme.
At an exciting and awe inspiring STEM Fair our pupils enjoyed workshops such as Winchester Science Centre’s mobile planetarium and got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks and meteorites. These rare samples were provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Our students were entertained by a fantastic rockets, fire and explosions show by ‘Wonderstruck’ and toured an exhibition hall full of top names in STEM businesses such as Google, Estee Lauder, BOC, the Royal Navy, Morgan Innovation and Siemens. The students were impressed by the technology of two TESLA cars which were on display and enjoyed interactive exhibits such as a Spitfire simulator courtesy of the defence company DSTL and Roaming Robots, who work on the hugely successful Robot Wars tv programme.
Approximately thirty of the top engineering companies in the UK joined us for our event providing a plethora of hands on activities and opportunities for discussion.
Connecting with the Community
Recognising a wider responsibility to our local community we invited our local primary schools to our STEM Fair and we also ran a STEM competition within these schools to design a new method of transport. We were delighted to welcome many primary students to our STEM Fair and award an iPad for the winning design.
In our post STEM week student evaluation survey, the STEM Week scored an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 for enjoyment and 89% of our Senior students say they are now likely or very likely to consider a career in STEM in the future.
All pupils in Juniors (KS1 & 2) took part in a STEM week which involved working in small teams, problem solving, designing and making. Three of our pupils received a ‘Highly Commended’ award from the Primary Engineer Leadership project which resulted in their work being exhibited at the University of Southampton.
A team of 5 Yr9 students won the ‘Most Innovative Design Award’ for the regional round of Go4Set which is sponsored by the Engineering and Design Trust (EDF)
Two of our Yr10 pupils have been awarded work experience opportunities with McLaren.
In the new Academic Year 2018/19 Ditcham Park School will be offering to provide exciting STEM projects for pupils in local Primary Schools as part of its aim to ‘connect with the community’ and will continue to develop our innovative and progressive STEM program.
Supporting Evidence – see link below