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STEM Club Taster Session at LPA

On the 8th May 2017, Year 10 Students; Callum, Jack, Rebecca and Naseeb  ran a taster session for top set Year 8 students to give them a flavour of what STEM Club sessions
would be like. The one hour session was introduced by Year 13 student Kate R, who had previously run a Demo day session to introduce the Year 8s to careers in STEM,
back in March.

In order to prepare for the taster session, the Year 10s had three, one hour planning sessions to decide what demos they wanted to do. They then took part in a practice run, a few days before the taster session to bring everything together.

On the day, 6, Year 10 students ran 4 different stations for the Year 8s that ranged from making Gravity water to exploding Ziploc bags. At each station the Year 8s were encouraged to get hands on with each experiment and to ask questions, with the Year 10s explaining the science bit.

Station 1: Gravity Water

The students were challenged by Naseeb to create water that defied gravity in this experiment which involved putting a thin piece of card over the mouth of a beaker, three quarters full with water. Needless to say, there was much amusement as many students failed in their attempts to recreate Naseeb’s successful demo. However, the water broke the ice and  the Year 8s had many questions for Naseeb about what was going on to make the water stay in the inverted beaker.


Station 2: Ziploc Bag 1

At this station, students were challenged by Jack to stick pencils through a ziploc bag filled with water. The students enjoyed questioning why the bag did not leak, coming up with lots of different suggestions. In particular, students enjoyed looking at whether the same effect could be achieved using different types of bag and using different shaped pencils, pens and even compasses.

Station 3: Ziploc bag 2

Rebecca’s station was probably by far the most noisy and messy as students followed instructions to place a tissue filled with Bicarbonate of Soda in a Ziploc bag containing vinegar. There were a fair few giggles as the contents of the bags starting reacting and fizzing and resulted in several bags bursting and spilling their contents out into the trays beneath them. Some students looked at whether malt vinegar would have a different effect to distilled clear vinegar. The students discussed what was going on inside the bag and why the reaction was taking place.

Station 4: Water Boatmen

Callum challenged the students to float a paperclip on the surface of a bowl of water at his station, using a variety of resources such as tissues, washing up liquid and sellotape. Students started off fairly quietly but soon their creativity began to show as various individuals stepped forward and began experimenting with different methods, tweeking and refining them till they got the paperclip to float.

After the Year 8s had been allowed 10 minutes at each station, Kate brought them back together and they filled in an evaluation form to find out what the students had enjoyed about the session, what could be improved for next time and what day would be the best day for STEM Club.

Out of the 29, Year 8 students who attended the STEM Club Taster Session, 26 scored the event as above 8 out of 10. Twelve students said that they would like to attend STEM Club afterwards, 15 were maybe’s and only 2 said that they would not be interested in any future STEM Club events. The Year 8s offered some really useful feedback that the Year 10s can use to improve future sessions, such as to be more confident in their delivery, to smile more and to provide more equipment so that more students can take part in activities. Next steps are for the Year 10s to plan their next session which involves organising a guest speaker to come and talk to the Year 8s about their STEM Job.