First year of STEM Club: the successes and the struggles
Despite teaching for a few years now, this is my first experience of running a weekly STEM Club. It has not been without its challenges but it is certainly worth doing. I have wanted to share a bit about my experience and why we wanted to set up a STEM Club in our school.
Our science department has recently gone through some transition - in the last twelve to eighteen months there have been several new teachers in the department.
The department is now very settled with an excellent Head of Department. Previous to this, there was a bit of supply and classes having inconsistent teachers. With this in mind we decided, due to all the intervention taking place for key stage 4, we would set up a range of STEM Clubs for key stage 3 students. The aim would be to generate a love of learning for STEM-based subjects, whilst increasing the uptake of triple science at GCSE and A level in the future.
The clubs set up this year include a weekly STEM Club, a lunchtime Robotics Club and a termly Unilever Experience Club.
"The weekly STEM Club that I have been responsible for has been successful this year. Despite low but improving numbers, the children turn up each week with enthusiasm and desire to engage with the activity."
Each club has been amazing and worked really hard to achieve some fantastic things, the Robotics Club has won a regional competition and went to national finals. The weekly STEM pupils have completed a range of activities to gain a Woodlands Trust Gold Award, as well as multiple trips out, including one to Liverpool Football Club and sailing and visits such as the one from the Royal Navy Outreach Team. Not forgetting the Unilever experience students who visit the Unilever factory and gain valuable experience linking what they have learnt in the classroom to real-world situations, bringing learning to life.
The weekly STEM Club that I have been responsible for has been successful this year in its start-up. Despite low but improving numbers, the children turn up each week with enthusiasm and desire to engage with the activity. We have had visits from the Woodland Trust and the Royal Navy Outreach team who have led activities within their specialisms to inspire students and challenge them so they are working outside their comfort zones, using key skills such as; leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication.
However, there have also been challenges, such as ensuring students have a new activity to complete or work towards each week.
Setting up a STEM Club has been an amazing experience and one I would definitely recommend. Next year the plan is to get more staff involved and for them to lead a session each week. As well as keeping the key stage 3 students we have, we are going to go into assemblies and do a Big Bang show to get some new Year 7 students engaged.