The aim of our project is to develop a range of STEM challenge stations around our school grounds in order to provide opportunities for our pupils to have first-hand practical experiences of real world science and maths. We will be setting up Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths stations inside our school woodland and around the rest of the school site which children will have access to during Forest School sessions, break times and lessons. They will be set up in a way that allows pupils to explore their natural curiosity about the world around them as well as providing prompt questions to make them think deeper about what is happening and why. The same challenge stations will also be used in practical lessons by class teachers where the focus will be on improving our pupils’ science and maths investigation skills.
Mrs C Harrison
As the project leader, this month has been an exciting time for me as I have been sharing our plans with the pupils, teachers and parents at school. The pupils have all had an assembly introducing the project and asking for their help with creative ideas of how the stations could be developed. A competition has been launched to find a good name for the stations as well as a bold logo to help identify where each station is. This has created a huge amount of excitement around the school and I have already received some brilliant ideas from the pupils. Each year group has also been given the task of choosing one station to help develop. The suggestion is that pupils pick a science or maths strand that they have already been taught so that they have the knowledge needed to think of creative ways of allowing younger pupils to learn actively. Parents have been informed of the project through the school newsletter and asked if they would like to come in and provide practical help.
I have already been able to make use of the expertise of our Rolls-Royce mentor with the design of our pulleys station. She has been able to advise us on how to set up a pulley system and where to source the equipment from. I am now at the point where I am ready to order the pulleys and ropes and set the system up. The other station I have been working on is the levers station which comprises of large logs (the fulcrum) with planks over them (the lever). The children will be able to use these simple machines to discover how the length of a lever affects the force needed to lift on object.
Miss S Cole
As my main area of interest is gardening, I have decided to create a sensory gardening within our school courtyard. This area will be filled with sensory plants that the children will be able to sit amongst, touch and smell. I have set up a gardening group who are learning how to take cuttings of appropriate plants, divide plants to make more and grow plants from seed. We have also been collecting seeds in order to grow new plants for free!
Over the coming months, we will be growing plants for teachers to use in science investigations. This will mean the school will save a lot of money as we will no longer need to buy plants or flowers for biology lessons.
Mrs C Overton
As deputy head, I have been able to raise the profile of the project both within and outside the school. I have been kept up to date with the progress being made and disseminated this to senior management and the governing body. I have chosen the classification station as my personal project and have started researching how this can be implemented.
Mrs Y Swinson
Resources for our plant, tree and hedgerow and mini-beast identification stations have been sourced and downloaded from various websites e.g. OPAL. These ID sheets will be edited to ensure they relate to our school environment then laminated and mounted onto boards.
Mrs T Groves
As maths co-ordinator, I am very keen to implement more active maths into our school. I have therefore taken the lead with the maths investigation station. I am currently sourcing materials to make a giant Tower of Hanoi and have come up with more ideas for maths challenges that could be built in the school grounds. As well as this, I have met with the maths team to come up with challenging questions that will be displayed around the investigations to prompt deeper thinking.
Total Awarded £6000