How to develop the scientific skill set and win fantastic prizes for the science department
Overcoming the misconceptions and reservations many students have about studying science can be a challenge. In fact, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) still indicates a significant STEM skills deficit in the UK.
To make a real difference, students need to be fully engaged in a hands-on project they see as relevant. One in which they are actively solving problems. One in which they develop a sense of personal achievement.
The Real STEM Competition is designed to achieve this for up to 72 pupils in a day and is delivered on the school site – so there is no travel required. Six teams of six pupils compete in a double lesson session that is repeated for a different group after break or lunch – minimalising disruption to the timetable.
A specialist team run the event and as the lead presenter is a hugely experienced science teacher there is no need for school staff to be present – allowing class teachers to supervise other lessons, effectively saving the cost of a cover teacher for the day. Of course, teachers can always choose to observe their students compete and then apply the proven strategies to future lessons.
‘Space Pioneers’ is the exciting theme for this year’s competition – which reinforces and expands upon KS3 & KS4 curriculum content within a thrilling scenario of the mission to Mars.
Every competitor will build advanced electronic sensors, using semiconductor components, to represent features of a Mars Lander. Then they will conduct redox reactions using microchemistry (the reduction of Copper Oxide with Hydrogen) to represent the analysis surface materials in areas of scientific interest around the landing site.
Most importantly, students will develop a wide range skills specified by the Working Scientifically criteria. They will do so as part of a team, against tight deadlines and in a game-like context – which not only makes the experience relevant and challenging but maximises engagement.
Schools entering the competition will receive performance reports for every participant and a free copy of the Caving Conundrum activity, which applies the approach to the marble chip investigation.
Every participant will receive a certificate of achievement listing the skills developed and members of the winning team will be awarded a commemorative medal. If the highest score is one of the top scores by Science Week 2018 the school can win a full-day workshop each term for a year, a further Double STEM Workshop or STEM Box 1 – full of fabulous activities to run with multiple classes.
The competition is a superb addition to upcoming activity weeks, holiday schools and transition days. For further information or to enter your school – you can visit the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 520866.