STEM Challenge at Bourne Community College Hosted by RAEng: June 2019
Eight of our pupils attended a STEM event at Bourne Community College last week in which hundreds of students attended from across Hampshire. They were also joined by our Bay House Digitial Ambassadors. The four teams competed in a variety of STEM challenges and all did exceptionally well at engineering and coding a robot to play a game of football. Other challenges included building radio-controlled BattleBots, VEX Robotics challenges and Virtual Reality racing. Our pupils also got to hear from real-life professionals from the engineering sector. They shared stories of how they went from school to become experts in their STEM fields and there will be opportunities to ask questions. Our teams, comprising Y5 and Y6 pupils found themselves at ease throughout the day, using the principles of ‘thinking like an engineer’ to respond to a variety of mini challenges. This was a testament to how embedded learning in STEM is at Gomer Junior School. With their engineering habits of mind, some competitive spirit and teamwork our children were awarded a prize to acknowledge their over-all success at the event. Only two schools were awarded such a prize – Go Gomer! We were delighted to have been invited, grateful to the Royal Academy of Engineering for inviting us and to the college for hosting the event. It was lovely for the children to meet Professor Adrian Oldknow too, who supported us with the launch of gSTEM back in 2015.
We love STEM and are keen to enthuse as many people as possible about the importance of STEM in the primary curriculum. Our children love learning all things STEM for half a day each week. On January 10 2019 We were delighted to see that STEM Learning published Mrs Digby’s article in their national publication regarding an integrated curriculum approach – gSTEM in essence. Mrs Digby wrote the text on p4 and you will see her article on p5. To read this please visit:
TES Visit: sharing practice since being nominated TSE STEM Team of the Year – December 2018
The TES met with Mrs Digby and Mrs Mulhall to create two short film reels: x1 to identify how it felt winning the TES Team of the Year 2018 and a ‘top 5’ of how to bring about an integrated STEM curriculum. Film link to TES website to be added soon.
Their nominee said ‘The ethos at GFM: Gomer Junior is Learning Today for the Challenge of Tomorrow. STEM is embedded across the curriculum and Engineering Habits of Mind informs teaching and learning.’
‘Gomer is challenging colleagues perceptions of what children can achieve at primary. Not content with championing careers education in their own setting, they are using their STEM Learning ENTHUSE partnership to support and inspire other primary settings challenging secondary colleagues too about the significant skills and creativity primary learners have.’
The awards celebrated the dedication of businesses, schools and volunteers to connecting young people to the world of work; young people were awarded for their achievements through the careers and work opportunities that they had participated in.
The prestigious evening brought together a variety of representatives from across the business and educational community on Tuesday 27th November 2018 at 2000 Lakeside North Harbour.
On Thursday 4 October 2018, upon invitation, the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb visited Gomer Junior to see our award winning gSTEM alongside our broad curriculum.
Mr Gibb described Gomer as a ‘pioneering and excellent school’. Caroline Dinenage MP organised the visit for us. We were delighted to be joined by our STEM Ambassador, a government official and the Flitetrak MD.
On 22 June 2018, Gomer Junior were awarded the prestigious STEM Team of the Year award. We are very proud and delighted that our achievements are being recognised nationally.
The judges said: “Gomer Junior School has developed a wonderful and extensive experience for primary students in science and engineering, offering a rich curriculum. It links into secondary science education and inputs into primary education courses. It showcases how integrated and inspirational primary science can be and it is a truly worthy winners of science, technology and engineering team of the year.”
The BAE Roadshow joined us for a fourth consecutive year. The focus was “It’s a Numbers Game.” Throughout the show the pupils were introduced to a series of fun and fascinating ways in which Maths is used in everyday life, including examples of the practical application of mathematical techniques within BAE Systems, the RAF and the Royal Navy. The presentation included the most up to date technologies to demonstrate the importance of Maths in the future of Engineering – their robot MIA returned to show off her mathematical genius and we explored developments in facial recognition technology. In addition to all Gomer pupils attending the roadshow, we hosted some of our ENTHUSE partner schools: Rowner Junior, St. John’s Primary and Wimborne Junior. Alvesrtoke Junior joined us too.
Whilst lots of us were enjoying the Easter holiday 2018 at home, our STEM Leader Mrs Digby and Mrs Toone spent 5 days learning abroad in Switzerland at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research with thanks to an ENTHUSE bursary. Their study visit was a unique opportunity for UK primary teachers to visit CERN and have its facilities, functions and operation explained by the scientists and engineers who work there. During their visit to the birth-place of the World Wide Web, they met world class physicists, engineers and mathematicians performing at the forefront of their fields – they were even lucky enough to meet a Nobel Prize winner. They explored beyond the paths of a usual visitor and were able to view the enormous particle accelerators and control centres on campus. They attended lectures where they explored the way CERN is investigating our universe and they learnt about the enormous impact that the work at CERN has on medical advances.
In March 2018 some of our Y5 students visited CEMAST and enjoyed hands-on STEM learning.
The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Skills at the Department of Education visited Gomer on Thursday 15 March to see the innovative and unique skills training on our peninsula. The Minister was impressed with our award nominated approach towards STEM and digital learning. Caroline Dinenage, MP, who organised the visit said,
“It was great that the Minister has the opportunity to learn more about the exciting and unique ways we are training our workforce to address the skills shortfall. I’ve been blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm from both pupils and staff during my own visits. I’m delighted the Minister has seen this for herself, with a view to how it can be replicated in other training programmes.”
In the Spring Term 2018 Mrs Digby led a gSTEM club for Y4 and Y5 pupils whose female membership exceeded the male uptake. During the club sessions the children designed aircraft for the Dendrite Fly to the Line Glider competition and did so using an array of skills. This included using craft knives which demanded precisie usage. The children found this to be very exciting! The gliders that traveled the furthest will appear at the regional finals in the Summer Term 2018.
Practical Action has provided inspiration for some of our STEM Learning so in November 2017 the children provided upcycled items from no longer required items into fabulous creations. The children raised a super £393.27. Items ranged from aprons, to lights, to photo frames, to cushions. With thanks to everyone who made bids – Team Gomer liked the items so much they bought them too and can be seen around the school. The video below is a fabulous diary by one of our Y3 pupils documenting his upcycling.
Team Gomer were delighted to be a finalist at this years prestigious TES Awards on 23 June 2017. Although not an outright winner we were very proud to have been a STEM Team of the Year Finalist.
The BAE Roadshow made their annual visit to Gomer on Tuesday 16 May 2017. The children learnt about the use of drones, wowed the presenters with their use of binary and were able to have their consideration to engineering careers extended. The robot at the end of the presentation was a firm crowd pleaser. The use of AI was incredible and we we were all most impressed with the robot’s Tai Chi moves.
Following our participation in the Bloodhound Regional Finals we heard on 15 May 2017 that two of our gSTEM Rocketeers have made it to the National Finals. On 29 June 2017 we will watch four of our young engineers independently design, make and then race their rocket cars at the Santa Pod Raceway. Between now and then we will be ensuring they are up to speed with super-car designs so they can race for the line at pace. Wish them luck!
Due to our good practice, our Head Teacher was invited to The Royal Academy of Engineering on 5 May 2017, as a guest of Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Janet Hanson, to form part of a working party to outline the importance of leadership in championing STEM in schools. This will hopefully result in outreaching to more schools to include STEM in their day-to-day teaching. It was brilliant that Mrs Mulhall could further share our pioneering STEM journey.
Our gSTEM Club competed in the Bloodhound ‘Race For the Line’ regional final on 26 April 2017 at RAF Odiham. Their cars reached speeds of 53m.p.h. in our local competition. Competing against 32 other schools (all of which were secondary schools or colleges with the exception of one other primary) the children had to make their own car to be fueled by a rocket without any adult help or intervention. Our children worked in pairs where other schools worked in groups of four. With fewer children to consult with, the pairs had to work diligently and in a timely fashion. Of the 33 cars racing two of our cars ranked in the top 8. This is brilliant!
On April 7 2017 we were very excited to learn that Gomer Junior has been shortlisted for a prestigious TES STEM Team of the Year Award. All other nominees are secondary schools. Go Gomer – brilliant achievement.
In addition to this, The Royal Academy of Engineering launched their report with the Centre for Real World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester, Learning to be an Engineer on March 30 2017. The report explores the ways schools can use this approach to create better and more engaging learning opportunities for would-be engineers. We are one of the case studies included in the publication:
Furthermore, upon invitation, teachers from Gomer Junior shared our gSTEM journey at The BETT Show 2017. We are also delighted that The Micro: Bit Foundation have provided Gomer Junior and Bay House with micro: bits. A press release from Caroline Dinenage MP was made on 23 January 2017 http://caroline4gosport.co.uk/news/mp-welcomes-stem-investment-in-gosport-schools/707 This leading edge opportunity is intended to increase the understanding of how learning in school links to the real world in which we live. Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening is due to be visiting us in the Summer Term 2017.
What our Lead Learning Partner said following his inspection on 27 January 2016:
‘I spent the morning in lessons and the approach is based on sound pedagogy and is clearly impacting on pupils’ learning in a profound way. Staff all buy into the approach in a big way and are modelling the learning approach on which STEM is based but skilfully avoiding the temptation to over-model. Marking in the gSTEM books is developmental and responded to, for example. The meaningful application of maths evidences deepening and applying, the pupils’ levels of language use, collaboration and expression of their ideas is of very high quality in all year groups. The overall ‘project’ (its more embedded and sustainable than a time limited project) is well led and is an example of distributed leadership impact.’
Our First Term of STEM – Autumn 2015
In our first term of the project we focused on space. We become engineers by engineering space craft and moon buggies. In addition to this we evaluated the intricacies of spaceflight, investigating aerodynamics, and solving real life problems as part of the real space mission Principia. The Principia took flight on December 15th. Here are a few Space Buggy models made by the children:
Science Fair March 2016 makes The News
Please look at the PowerPoint below, produced by Harrison in Y3. The presentation outlines his Home Learning project, including videos testing his Space Buggy and how he improved his design. The presentation showcase informative hands on learning. Go Harrison!