Monthly Archives: September 2012

STEM – first session

We had our first STEM session today. Ten pupils identified as more able in Science from across the school (supported by three staff) met Ken, our ambassador and spent an hour looking at pictures of the different ways that we can fly. We also laid the classroom chairs out as if we were in the smallest plane (just two seats), Concorde (two on each side) or the new Airbus (four, five, four) which took up a lot of room.

Some of them have a remarkable knowledge of aircraft, and I think they are all looking forward to the next session, where we will be marking out how far different planes travel in a second compared to a car, looking at the different parts of planes and starting to build our own balsa wood models.

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Using an ipad in SEN

Today my class have had the opportunity to use our school ipad for the first time. We are, apparently, getting a set of ten ‘soon’, so we were trialling it to see which apps we liked and which were missing.

I already have a pupil who uses an ipad to communicate, he uses a programme called Grid Player (suggested by @jwinchester25 on twitter). I wanted to see what the rest could do.

My pupils function between p6-L2. First they found the camera, then the found Angry Birds. That was interesting, they could see where the birds needed to get to, but not all could see that they had to pull back the slingshot.and were trying to move the birds instead.

We tried a colour matching with dominoes app that worked quite well, and the number and letter formation one was great. Matching shapes was good, but the naming shapes we have at the moment was a bit too simple for most of my pupils.

I think, given time, it will become a valuable tool in the classroom, for differentiation or reward. I just need time to learn to use it as my tablet of choice is a Galaxy!

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CREST Awards

We’ve just invested in the CREST Star Investigators series of awards for our lunchtime Science Club. Although they are aimed at primary pupils, they are perfect for our pupils and fulfill the desire of SMT to accredit everything from breathing upwards 😉

We currently run OCR Science Plus for our most able pupils, but the nature of the school is changing as our local MLD swings away from taking on pupils with behaviour issues and I’m not sure that my newest Year 10’s actually have what it takes to gain enough marks for a Bronze award. I am seriously considering basing their curriculum on the ‘MegaStar’ and ‘Young Ambassadors’  packs instead, and getting them some accreditation that way.

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STEM in Special

So, our STEM journey is beginning. Having listened to our local Advisor tell an LA meeting she’d been in touch with every school, I challenged her – and 12 months later we are finally ready to begin our journey.

Our nearby secondary school has just started an interesting project where they are building their own aeroplane and asked us to get involved at a level that our students can all access.

For Science and Engineering Week we will be having a week of flight themed activities (more on those as I work out what they are). Our most able and interested students will be working with our STEM Ambassador six times over the year to develop their understanding of parts of an aircraft and how they fly. We might even have a trip out to the local airport.

Watch this space!

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