Youngsters at a first school are embarking on a new exciting project in conjunction with teachers, governors, and members of the community.
Woodcroft First School in Leek has embarked on a project to further improve its pupils' learning experience of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) topics.
The first phase of the project will establish 'The Tech Shed' - a hub for scientific inquiry and technology demonstrations, to enrich lessons and inspire pupils of all ages and abilities.
The project now has an established team of teachers, governors and community members, and a donation has been made by aero engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. However, the team state that more funding and assistance is needed to make it a real success.
At this stage of the project the school is particularly looking for help and advice from local trades people willing to give up a few hours of their time over the coming months to get the Tech Shed up and running. The school is also inviting individuals, local businesses and other organisations to get involved by offering funds, donating equipment, furnishing the building, or sharing a passion for STEM topics.
Both the interior and exterior of the Tech Shed will be equipped with STEM-related kit, pictures and displays, and artists will be invited to provide or create decoration. In addition to standard STEM equipment (magnets, electrical circuits, microscope etc), ideas so far include a wind turbine, solar panels, weather station, water butt with water-mill, parts from real cars and aero engines, model human skeleton, stationary bike generator, pulleys and gears, and electromechanical devices. The school intends that all activities and learning outcomes will trace to, and build on, the National Curriculum, and there will be plenty of opportunity to be cross curricular with other subjects such as English, History, Arts, Geography and IT. Each term will explore a particular theme, such as Materials, Our Planet, The History of Science & Discovery, Food & Nutrition, Sounds & Music and Flight and Aeroplanes.
Greg Holland, a parent governor at Woodcroft and chairman of the Tech Shed Team said: "None of us know what the future holds for the next generation, but we do know that many challenges can only be met through the development and application of STEM know-how. Woodcroft wants its' children to be well versed in STEM to keep up with the tremendous pace of change in technology, and eventually to compete in the increasingly global and competitive job market. Besides this the sheer pleasure and fulfilment of understanding the world around us is reason enough to invest in STEM - skills for enjoyment and employment."
Ruth Cartledge, head-teacher at Woodcroft First School, said: "I am always looking for exciting and creative ways to encourage children to engage in their learning.
"I was delighted with Mr Holland's suggestion of a Tech Shed. This idea has grown and developed into a sizable project.
"STEM cover so many skills that are valuable for learning, not least being inquisitive and asking good questions.
"I'm looking forward to our children being inspired by a love of STEM so they can make the most of future opportunities."
Mr Holland added: "A passion for science, maths and all things technical often sparks at a very young age, so it really is critical to kindle children's early interests, encouraging them to explore and begin to understand the world around them. STEM topics can be really good fun, but also help to develop key skills for many aspects of life."
Anyone wishing to help Woodcroft First School with their Tech Shed project, can contact the team by emailnig firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01538 483186.