The importance of science, technology, engineering and maths has been explored in challenging and fun workshops by children at Ramsgate Arts Primary School as part of STEM Projects.
Day-long sessions have been held with professionals from Cummins Power Generators who tailored learning activities to age groups.
Pupils from Reception and Year 1 created towers from spaghetti and marshmallow, and also used male and female stencils to draw what they thought a scientist or an engineer may look like.
Year 2 and 3 children used a range of everyday materials including card, earbuds, straws and paperclips to create a glider, working to plans they drew up themselves.
They also discussed how filtration works and devised their own filter systems using large plastic bottles and cheesecloth to filter water containing different grades of fine and coarse sand and gravel.
For Year 4 and 5, the challenge was to create an engine with moving pistons using Lego bricks, again working to a specific set of instructions and information. They also took part in a rapid-fire quiz centered around the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) topics they were learning.
At the start of the week the Cummins team talked to an assembly about the importance of STEM and how you can become an inventor, whether by accident, using your imagination, problem solving or by necessity. They also learnt about the range of career opportunities that can develop from STEM subjects such as architects, engineers and sales co-ordinators who use maths in their role.
Throughout the hands-on activities, children were encouraged to be creative and think of inventions that can improve everyday life. Pupils wrote and drew their suggestions that were displayed on an ideas wall, and these included building robots that would help pick up litter and clean up rubbish to make the world a better place, and a homework helper laptop.
Joyce Oladeinde, who studied chemical engineering, is a graduate data management engineer for the company. She led the three-day event assisted by volunteers from Cummins. She said:
“We want to help the children expand their horizons and to realise what pathways are possible for them through science, technology, engineering and maths. The activities helped them develop problem-solving abilities, encouraged teamwork, inter-personal skills and communication as part of the creative challenges they were set. I am also very passionate about making a positive impact in my local community.”
Abi from Year 5 said:
“It was really interesting. I found out that every time a car wheel turns it is because all sorts of different things are happening together in an engine.” Ruby agreed and added: “You need air, fuel and heat to make your engine work.”
Both girls agreed the Cummins challenge was great fun and added;
“We liked the activities and working out how to make things work. It was very interesting.”
Head of School Nick Budge said:
“This was a fantastic three days of hands-on learning that was really guided at different age groups through the school.
STEM is an important part of our learning programme and working in partnership with Cummins was both fascinating and fun for our children. We hope to work on further projects with the Cummins team who were great and who are helping us develop the aspirations and potential of our pupils.”
Ramsgate Arts Primary School is part of the Viking Academy Trust with Upton Junior School and Chilton Primary School.
Thank you, Ramsgate Arts Primary School and Cummings for sharing your positive news with us and for going above and beyond to teach our young people STEM subjects. It sounds like it was a fascinating and fun-filled week for pupils and any reason to play with LEGO is awesome in our eyes!
It is always heartwarming to see local companies using their knowledge to help support our communities and inspire our young people to think in different ways and perhaps plant a seed to train in STEM subjects. Thank you.