Sheffield primary school children get creative at event to learn about STEM careers
Staff at an inner-city primary school in Sheffield have been encouraging pupils to get creative in a bid to teach them about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and broaden their future career aspirations.
All pupils at Abbeyfield Primary Academy, in Firshill, took part in the STEM day in which they were given the chance to take part in an ‘off timetable’ activity to design moon buggies and a moon base which would be practical on Mars.
The students in Key Stage 1 were given construction toys and building blocks to design the moon buggies, whereas those in Key Stage 2 were tasked with creating moon bases using items they could find at home such as cardboard, paper and tin foil.
The children were asked to think carefully about the practicality of their designs, following a set criteria in which the moons bases had to be flat, less than 400 grams, no bigger than an A4 piece of paper and have a door – all designed and built in teams of three.
During the day the children were joined by representatives from Nikken, Henry Boot and Gaia Innovation, who picked both a winner and runner-up from each class who would then win a prize.
Speaking at the event, Leona Mills, assistant headteacher, said: “The moon bases are being tested for weight and waterproofness and they’ve been given an hour to make their designs. The kids are loving it.
“It is a very hands-on activity, they're learning about shape, space, structure and are engaged and working as a team.”
The day forms part of the Aspiration project, a three-part programme by the Five Rivers Multi Academy Trust, who run Abbeyfield Primary Academy.
The aim is to promote different career paths – such as those in engineering which are constantly evolving – to children at a young age in hopes of encouraging them to follow apprenticeships and think about their future jobs.
The programme began at the start of the year when the school were visited by representatives from Jaguar Land Rover, in which all pupils were given an insight into careers as an engineer.
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During this they designed an invention and prepared a proposal letter which was then entered into The Primary Engineers Leaders Award.
Around 306 designs from across the school will now be judged by engineers and educationalists and, if a child’s entry is shortlisted, the design will form part of the regional public exhibitions and winners will be presented with a trophy at a prestigious award's night.
Bradley Longford, trainee business and marketing assistant at Henry Boot, said: “It is important for children to see local companies, what is available to them locally and the career paths they can follow. Engineering is ever-changing and is huge in Sheffield.
“Employers need to engage with schools. It is also important for the children to learn about apprenticeships and find out they have to offer.”
The final part of the programme will take part in June, in which the children will take part in a ‘media day’ to learn how to market their designs.