It was a Science and Engineering Day for 120 pupils of Knockhall Academy with the help of The Leigh UTC. The children of Knockhall Academy have been working on a major STEM project (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) courtesy of a grant from the Royal Society.
The children from Years 3 and 5 were set a series of challenges and activities throughout the day. Their challenges included constructing and decorating bridges, writing games programs, programming robotic arms and participating in a series of science experiments. The children were assisted throughout the day by Year 10, 11 and 12 students from The Leigh UTC, as well as staff and volunteers from both schools.
Knockhall Academy students built bridges constructed from templates which had been pre-cut by engineering staff and students of The Leigh UTC. Teams then had an hour to construct and decorate the bridges and certificates were presented for the best designs and best team work.
“It was great to see so many children engaged with engineering, computing and science. Their creativity and enthusiasm was a credit to the students, their parents and their school.” Mr. Richard Nash, Director of Learning for Engineering
In Science, students saw demonstrations on the properties of dry ice, flaming bubbles and conducted hands-on experiments in electrostatics, coloured flames and a non-Newtonian fluid which acts as both a solid and a liquid. The Leigh UTC Science Department awarded certificates for the best student questions.
“Our aim today was to let the students have a hands-on experience of Science, using chemicals and materials that they would be familiar with; in effect demonstrating how Science is all around us. The experiments allowed everyone to explore some of the fundamental ideas of elements, states of matter and static electricity for themselves. Pupils enjoyed many experiments including seeing their teachers’ hands set fire using bubbles of methane gas!” Miss Emily Smith, Director of Learning for Science
Finally, in computing, students were given the task of either writing programs to control a robotic arm, write a game program, or program a MICRO:bit controller. Programming is one of the key areas that the government is seeking to develop to ensure that all students leaving school have a basic understanding in.
During the day, the Mayor of Dartford, the Lady Mayoress and Maggie Bolton from DASCo (Dartford Area Schools’ Consortium) visited The Leigh UTC to see the work and achievements of the students.
“I was very impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the Knockhall students. Their thirst for knowledge and understanding of STEM through projects developed by the UTC staff was inspiring for all who took part. A wonderful day rounded off well by a celebration of their success.
The Leigh UTC will continue to forge links with many primary schools in our area with one mission ‘to support the STEM agenda’.” Mr. Stephen Leahey, Principal of The Leigh UTC
Everyone, staff and students had a great time, with Knockhall students commenting how wonderful the day was and from UTC students, how well behaved and engaged the students from Knockhall were.
“I had lots of fun making bridges but as much fun doing everything else. It was a great day!” Knockhall student
“The day was definitely worth the effort and thoroughly enjoyable. The Knockhall students were very well mannered and a credit to their school and teachers. I am confident that they enjoyed themselves and learned something new- I know I did, thank you for the opportunity.” Michael Folley, Year 11, The Leigh UTC