St. Margaret Clitherow knew their double science and technology bid wood work!
St Margaret Clitherow have made a successful, two-pronged STEM bid for a new science scheme from Engaging Science and Woodworking benches and equipment.
The Engaging Science scheme has been developed in conjunction with several primary schools and has some exciting founding principles:
- Science is best taught through practical sessions and investigation
- Pupils should be encouraged to think both scientifically and creatively
- Curiosity, wonder, humour and even disgust are emotions that build engagement in science
- Science should take advantage of the many opportunities the outdoor environment offers to learn science in context
- The teaching of science should be rigorous and ensure that pupils of all abilities make progress
- Assessment in science should be based on what pupils demonstrate they can do in lessons rather than on tests.
We very rarely fund the replacement or buying of core equipment for subjects, but we are keen to help develop and extend the teaching and learning of our focus subjects in school. Thus, we were delighted to also fund two new woodwork benches and attendant tools to facilitate the development and extension of this aspect of STEM in the school.
As headteacher, Carmela Puccio explained:
Pupils will be part of hands on experience for their science lessons and therefore should be more likely to enjoy and understand the learning. The new scheme also plans for outdoor learning which is an important area of school life at St. Margaret Clitherow. The EYFS woodwork skills will enable our youngest pupils to develop a new skill set. Our aim would be to promote this across the school in time.
We were very pleased to award St. Margaret Clitherow school a second award to take their academic year total to the maximum £1,000. This time, they applied for an art/design and a design/technology scheme from Kapow Primary. They also received a Wellbeing programme for free as they bought two schemes in one go.
Kapow specialise in whole-school schemes of work and associated resources for the non-core curriculum, helping primary teachers improve their knowledge and skills in the wide range of subjects they are expected to teach. For example, in the Art/Design package they have:
- Over 100 videos to develop your subject knowledge and confidence
- 70 + pupil videos, demonstrating skills and techniques
- The formal elements of art (line, shape, tone, texture, pattern and colour) and skills are taught discretely in each year group, with the techniques being further developed and applied within the other topics
- A broad range of inspiring arts and craftspeople featured
- Overview of the progression of skills across KS1 & 2 included
As Carmela Puccio, Headteacher, summarised in her bid:
"Children from Year 1 - 6 would have access to the Kapow scheme which enables them to learn the key skills for art and design. It has a hands-on approach and the programme supports teachers also as each lesson includes a video of a trained artist taking through the skills and processes.”
Brookman’s Park rocket to success
We are very excited to award Brookman’s Park Primary (Hatfield) a grant for a Space Day run by a company called Stargazer. The company explain:
“We normally start off with a whole school assembly first thing, which is space / rocketry themed. There’s lots of dramatic AV footage and a great narrative, which is exciting and often amusing. This presentation lasts for about 20 minutes and is suitable for Reception, all the way up to Year 6.
We’d then usually follow assembly with 4 x 1 hour sessions of our Rocket Factory Workshop for Key Stage 2;
Rocket Factory 1 – Rocket building workshop
Ideal for all ages and key stages the Starchaser Rocket Factory 1 enables students to experiment with Newton’s Laws of motion by building and flying their own compressed air powered model rockets. Safe, clean, educational and fun, Rocket Factory 1 is supervised by a Starchaser Educator and includes enough materials and rocket launchers for upwards of 40 pupils per session.
For Key Stage 1 pupils we usually provide our ‘It Came From Outer Space’ topic box of space artefacts (meteorite, space food, rocket fuel etc.) to move from class to class for KS 1 teachers to investigate with their pupils (teacher’s notes can be forwarded in advance).
Provided you had the outdoor space, we would conclude the day with the launch of a couple of half metre length model rockets, powered by real rocket fuel which fly hundreds of feet into the air before returning safely via parachute. This demonstration would be carried out on the school field and is suitable for the whole school. If done just before home time it’s a great spectacle for parents too.”
Also included in the day is a discounted centrepiece attraction of a nine metre rocket arriving for display and setting to near-launch position.
This full day session will certainly give a taste of “awe and wonder” to all the children who will also be developing their teamwork and school-leader skills by working in mixed-age houses to launch the rocket.
Another argument that strengthened this exciting bid is the fact that the project is just part of Brookman’s Park’s push to develop STEM across the school, including investing in staff INSET. This means the benefits of the rocket day project will continue to ripple through the rest of the school year and beyond.
St Meryl get a dozen dandy robots.
St Meryl (Watford) have successfully applied for 12 Sphero Sprk+ Programmer Robots which are tennis-ball-sized robots which can be programmed and controlled from your smartphone or tablet. They can be driven around obstacles or apps used to learn programming and coding for robotics. As Caron Plein explained in her application:
"It is a hands-on tool that introduces pupils to robotics and coding, plus a lot of other STEAM activities. There are 3 programming levels available, enabling pupils across the school to use it, and to continue to build skill levels over time. It can be controlled from a tablet, and is waterproof, shock proof and scratch-resistant making it a product which will serve the pupils well over many years."
We particularly liked the fact that, with 12 robots, a whole class can be involved simultaneously, working in groups to develop, test and improve their programming. Caron strengthened her bid by explaining that they already had ipads in school ready to run the apps and that all children will get maximum benefit from the robots because:
“We will build these sessions both into schemes of work as well as our extra-curricular timetable offerings to ensure maximum use and benefit is obtained.
We will use an after school staff meeting (these take place once a week) to give training to all the teachers on using the robots in their lessons. This training will be carried out in house and will add no additional costs to the project.”
Icknield scientists solve a crime!
We are very pleased to award Icknield Infant/Nursery (Letchworth) a grant for a forensic science workshop delivered by the Education Group. The whole school (Foundation Stage and KS1) will take part in class groups to give them all a “WOW” start to Science Week.
As Fiona Gascoigne, Office Manager, explained in her bid:
Having the workshop will allow the children to experience hands on activities that they would not otherwise have access to and experience different ways of learning. We particularly hope the workshop will help close the gap for disadvantaged children.
We are always keen when any subject/topic is delivered in a different way to help promote effective learning and heighten children’s enthusiasm. The workshop shows how science is used in the real world by using a hands-on approach:
Our young investigators must tape off the area in order to protect any evidence. Clues and evidence must be identified, collected, interpreted and analysed. These include fingerprints, impressions, hairs and fibres and 'blood', bones and DNA.
Can you solve the mystery?
Forensic Science workshop
The children had a great time during the Forensic Science workshop. It was a brilliant way to ‘hook’ the children into Science Week and left them with a sense of wonder and many questions to answer. The workshop was also great because it put Science into a real life context and showed the children different ways that Science is used in everyday life. The workshop covered many working scientifically skills that the children were able to practice such as; asking questions, observing closely, identifying, classifying, and gathering and recording data to help in answering questions. It was lovely to observer all of the children engaged and having a great time.
Feedback from other teachers:
I thought the workshop was excellent. Well prepared, exciting and different. My whole class were engaged throughout and enjoyed the forensic investigation. We felt that the timings were perfect, enough time during input and the investigating. The gentlemen who led it was great with the children as well! – Mr Jacob
Most children were very engaged in this and would not stop talking about it! The resources that he used were fantastic and the children were so excited when they found any piece of evidence! Even when it had finished the children wouldn't stop going on about the lady who took the sandwiches! – Reception teachers
St Mary’s get with the program!
We are always looking for applications which will inspire children to learn whilst having fun. St Mary’s achieved this balance perfectly with their successful bid for 6 Blue-bots for EYFS and KS1 and 10 Microbit programmable computers and an InO Bot programmable Bluetooth robot for the older children.
As well as helping deliver the ICT curriculum across the school in a more practical, awe and wonder type way, the more able children will be stretched by being able to evaluate algorithms seeking to solve real-life, physical tasks. Hanna Paxton, ICT and English Lead, will be able to train staff in using the equipment, thereby ensuring all children benefit.
As Hanna wrote:
… Blue-bots to Early Years and KS1 would give children first-hand experience at tackling algorithms and a secure understanding of coding which will enable them to achieve well in KS2. We hope that by pairing these with the appropriate mats, children will begin to develop control, directional language and awareness of programming.
By purchasing the Microbits we hope that our KS2 children will develop a secure understanding of coding, networks and systems in modern technologies. They will be critical in their selection and use of digital applications using a range of devices confidently.
Similarly, the InO Bot will enable children to apply their newly founded coding skills to a wider range of modern technologies. They will be able to create, test, debug and refine algorithms for specific purposes, and will bring to life their understanding of coding away from a typical computer screen which is what their understanding is limited to at present.
Breachwood Green are cock-a-hoop with their new equipment.
We are very pleased to be able to fund the majority of the cost of a new, outdoors triple basketball hoop for Breachwood Green JMI (Hitchin). The staggered heights of the hoop will allow children of all ages and abilities to practise shooting and defending and this model is approved by the England Basketball Association.
We are always impressed by staff taking the extra time and effort to research the best quality/price combinations for their applications and the dedication which staff, pupils and parents show in raising any extra money required for the project*. As Harry Jones, PE Lead, explained:
We appreciate this is over your grant limit of £1000.00 and therefore our PTFA have raised enough money to pay the extra £230.06. This money has been raised through PTFA volunteers and school staff, including myself, running fundraising events such as the School Summer Fete, School Discos and Cake Sales.
… Through networking with parents and staff members, we have managed to find someone who is happy to install (concrete in) the basketball hoop so that no contractors have to be paid.
* (EdufundUK do much prefer to fund an entire project or at least be the majority contributor to costs.)