Category: e) STEM Club

First week and we nearly have the chassis built. Next week we are starting on the front axle.


For the past 6 weeks, myself and the rest of the STEM club bunch, have been waiting in eager anticipation for the arrival of the Goblin Go Kart which we ordered. Today it arrive 🙂

First thing was to unpack the boxes and check we received everything we should have (pic below), and I’m pleased to say we did, which means building work will start shortly and we should be up and racing soon – stay tuned for picture updates.



All of Year 6 did a fantastic job working together in teams  to build their ‘Crumpsall Racers’ during National Science and Engineering Week. There could, however, only be one winning team and that was team ‘Ma SHEEN’!Very well done to all team ‘Ma SHEEN’ members, who completed the 6 lap race in the quickest time of all the groups.

Here is a picture of team ‘Ma SHEEN’s’ winning racer and a video beneath of it’s test run.



I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while…

Well done to all the teams involved in the egg challenge. We will fire the rockets again when slightly nicer weather arrives and I don’t have to pump quickly before they fall over on the launch pad!

Below is an action shot of one of the launches which Mrs Owens kindly took -it appears the parachute has come out a little early!

In the second workshop in the STEM club the groups start designing their rockets. Groups are provided with the same base materials and have to make key design decisions considering key questions – such as how are we going to make the rocket fly to the greatest height? This session is specifically aimed at AF1 and AF3: ‘Thinking scientifically’ and ‘Communicating and collaborating in science’ respectively. Pupils drew on abstract ideas such as air resistance to justify their design decisions as a group and we gathered evidence of many pupils satisfy the following assessment points

  • Use appropriate scientific and mathematical conventions and terminology to communicate abstract ideas
  • Use abstract ideas or models or more than one step when describing processes or phenomena
  • Explain processes or phenomena, suggest solutions to problems or answer questions by drawing on abstract ideas or models


Throughout this term I am working to with a colleague to deliver an extracurricular STEM club designed to stretch the thinking of our school’s G&T cohort. I have designed a thematic scheme of workshops centered around the design of water rockets which will span approximately 8 weeks. The scheme is enquiry based with pupils working in teams tackling smaller discrete problems each week in order to achieve the overarching learning challenge. We intend to use evidence from the workshops for assessment of the pupils – hoping to demonstrate pupils ability to consistently work securely at level 5. As such, the workshops have been specifically designed to target the  assessment foci from the APP frameworks.


The Powerpoint below is from week 1. This introduces the overarching challenge and then presents pupils with a topic for debate: Should countries be allowed to send anything more into space?

This session is designed to target AF2: Understanding the applications and implications of science. Specific criteria from the APP framework that pupils were found to meet in their discussions included:

  • Describe different viewpoints a range of people may have about scientific or technological developments
  • Indicate how scientific or technological developments may affect different groups of people in different ways
  • Identify ethical or moral issues linked to scientific or technological developments

Quick update to say the Swift flew well… apart from only turning right! It was stable in pitch meaning it corrected itself if a gust of wind caused it to point nose up or down, making it easy to fly for beginners. It was also smooth to control in the turn. Unfortunatly though a left hand turn was impossible. I have an idea why and will try and sort soon. If in the meantime you are interested in building a Swift (I promise yours will turn both ways) in your school please get in touch.

With a little extra time on my hands over the summer, I  set about on a task that has been in the back of my mind for a while: designing a small, easy to build, remote controlled aircraft that would be ideally suited for building and flying in a school’s science club.

Last year I ran a STEM club with a colleague and we did build a small electric powered model aircraft, but the simplest kit (not something pre-made) I could find for the task was still relatively complex and provided a tough challenge for our budding future scientists (they rose to the challenge with enthusiasm and build a fantastic aircraft it must be said). Anyway, I was sure the design could be simplified, as could the methods of construction, to make a project like this more accessible to schools/teachers without a background in science or engineering.

The result of my musings appears below, named the Swift. It has been designed with simplicity in mind and is constructed from quick print foam and balsa wood. It is battery operated and has three small motors, called servos, operating flaps at the rear of the wing to control its direction. I hope to test fly it very soon and providing it flies in a stable manner, as it is designed to (fingers crossed), I hope to produce a few kits for schools which are interested – I can always provide support throughout the project if needed.

What our STEM club gets up to at lunchtime.