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STEMM Award in Year 8

STEMM Award in Year 8

Year 8 have enthusiastically embraced STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) as they complete the Year 8 enrichment Young Scientists’ Association Junior Award.

The girls have worked through sessions on each of the five areas of STEMM, and seamlessly switched online when lockdown bit in January. This Award extended our extra-curricular offering to explore beyond the curriculum, allowing students to make links with the wider world. For Year 8 students, this meant enjoying a broader perspective on their STEMM subjects than we are usually unable to provide in a crowded curriculum.

Students went beyond their comfort zones in a relaxed and inquiring way to explore their STEMM subjects in greater depth.

In each of our activities we are focused on STEMM in a wider context; for example, the wide variety of professions involved in the design and creation of modern artificial limbs. Highlighting possibilities empowers the girls by showing them the sheer breadth of opportunities in the STEMM field and encourages them to make links to STEMM subjects that they would not normally encounter in  science, maths, or technology lessons.

The science project was run by Dr Cardwell and involved students looking at how acids and alkalis are used in everyday life in the home, giving them a perspective on how chemistry is used around us every day.

The technology project was led by Mr Clarke who introduced the girls to the link between computer science and gaming by getting them coding some games in Python. Engineering was led by Dr Crawshaw, and she introduced the girls to the principles of aircraft design, and, yes, of course, they built some model aircraft. The budding engineers got to experience first-hand the importance of applying scientific principles such as the Centre of Gravity.

Medicine with Mr Griffiths looked at the idea of the Super Human, with a bit of biomechanics (making a ‘robot’ hand) and a demonstration of how our brains process our perceptions. This gave the girls an insight into the enormity of the field of medicine and the vast array of careers that one can follow.

Mathematics with Miss Bills used applied mathematics to investigate the important principles behind scuba diving, and why consideration of pressure at depth is literally a life or death matter for deep-sea divers.

The YSA Junior Award asks students to address four skills in each of the STEMM rotations, namely to learn about the topic, explore more about the area, then apply their new knowledge to a problem. To complete each rotation, they should be able to explain what they have learned to someone else.

These four skills closely link with the HPL advanced cognitive performance (ACP) characteristics of linking, analysing, realising - and even creating, when students are challenged to craft an explanation of their experience.

The STEMM field is traditionally one that girls do not identify as ‘for them’.

Our Year 8 STEMM enrichment encourages a more open mindset, challenging students to question the spurious assumptions that lead to these damaging ideas.

Experiencing areas of STEMM which are not normally part of the academic curriculum develops the resilience that the girls need to break these stereotypical limitations: indeed to say, “Yes she can”!

Mr Griffiths

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