by JO MITCHELL | STEM Enrichment Coordinator at STEM Learning | @STEMClubsJo
Running a STEM Club or offering STEM enrichment activities before, during or after the school day can bring immense benefits to students, teachers and schools, helping to support curriculum learning and embed subject knowledge.
They are a perfect combination of scientific research, investigation and practical hands-on activity, using fun and engaging projects to reinforce curricular learning within a topic or theme that encourages and inspires students to stretch their capabilities. They create opportunities to learn new skills, boost confidence and place subjects in context within the wider world.
If students enjoy a subject, they will naturally seek to learn more and try out new things. If they can understand how it fits within the world around them, they see its importance and potential. This reflects back within the classroom.
STEM enrichment, whatever its form, can often reinvigorate a teacher’s own enjoyment, expand their subject knowledge and lead to enhanced skill sets of their own.
Yet, for many teachers, time, equipment, confidence and even subject knowledge can be potential barriers. Knowing where to start and what to do can be difficult, and this is especially true when curricular learning is restricted by circumstances beyond your control.
The STEM Clubs programme supports teachers of all abilities and subject expertise to engage with STEM enrichment in the following ways:
50+ secondary level STEM activities for any classroom
A set of resources that can be easily carried out by all school staff, families, club leaders and STEM Ambassadors, and in any setting, irrespective of subject experience or knowledge. It helps to broaden the reach of STEM subjects, enriching the curriculum and increasing enjoyment for everyone involved. The activities can be adapted to suit the time and setting available, requiring few resources or materials. The list includes fun projects such as building a small telescope or holographic images, planning an apocalyptic meal, designing shoe covers to run quietly through the school and designing a wing to enable humans to fly.
STEM Club sessions
We host a series of pre-recorded sessions, which anyone can join in on. The STEM Club activities – hosted on YouTube – are delivered by teachers, technicians, STEM Ambassadors, STEM Learning staff and through collaboration with STEM organisations. Each session contains between four and six practical activities that can be done at home or within a classroom. Teachers can use the videos within their lessons, fill a gap in the timetable or direct students to do the activity at home.
STEM Club webinars
Our webinars cover a variety of topics, such as setting up and running a STEM Club during a pandemic, how to apply for funding, running competitions and challenges, how to incorporate careers knowledge and employability skills, to running a club for SEN students. The webinars are hosted by experts from a wide variety of backgrounds, school clubs, STEM organisations, the STEM Ambassador programme, etc – all keen to share a wealth of knowledge and experience, opening up conversation, debate and collaboration whilst offering much-needed support.
Together, this programme of support will enable any school to offer a STEM Club experience and STEM enrichment activity to their students, whether at home or in the classroom, helping to consolidate the curriculum and increase the STEM capital of every family in the school community.