Events took place across the School as part of STEM Week (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) – with a number of talks and lectures from internal and external speakers. The week culminated with the final of the ‘Paper Tower Challenge’ and a National Space Academy Masterclass held for First Form pupils, paid for by money raised in the Annual Fund.
Second Form STEM Challenge
On Monday the whole of Second Form took part in a STEM challenge based on the HS2 rail link. Pupils were challenged to make their own train to drive along a track using motors and gears to propel their chassis. In teams they were challenged to come up with some innovative solutions which included a four-wheel drive chain and using combinations of gears in an attempt to make their train the fastest. After some fantastic marketing material and presentations from all groups along with their associated costings for their venture, the team consisting of Kit Baxter (Second Form,Vanbrugh), Iman el’Megrisi (Second Form, Queen Anne), Max Brooke (Second Form, Gascoigne), Tilda Wyatt (Second Form, Swift), Maddie Abbs-Woodd (Second Form, Gascoigne) and Edward Davies (Second Form,Vanbrugh) were declared the winners.
During Tuesday lunchtime, a fantastic STEM Fayre took place in the Upper Quad. This was an opportunity for all pupils to gain hands on experience and see how all STEM subjects have a wider impact in their curriculum. The First Form Robotics AOB Club showcased their programming skills, the Biology Department showed how lungs inflated and deflated, Mr Van Zyl set off some Thermic reactions, the PE Department showed how the world of STEM is associated closely with their subject through performance analysis, technology and physiological factors all evident through a speed and agility course. Pupils could use high powered telescopes, take part in the ping-pong ball challenge and test their logic with a series of maths puzzles. It was fabulous to see the energy and engagement of pupils during this event.
On Wednesday, TV presenter and Biologist Simon Watt came to the School to deliver some fascinating talks to pupils and staff. First and Second Form pupils were treated to the Ugly Animal talk in which they were able to learn some incredible science behind the animal kingdom and have a better understanding of some of the weird and wonderful species on the planet. Our evening talk on Dissections Uncut provided a chance to view some unseen footage behind the TV series Inside Natures Giants providing a scientific understanding on the biological influences behind species and the process of Evolution. Simon was able to convey a wealth of information with great humour and clarity in an incredible and thought provoking evening.
Paper Tower Challenge
During STEM week, tutor groups were given the challenge to make the tallest tower possible to hold a 100g weight out of only ten sheets of A4 paper. The winners from each House qualified for the final on Friday break time. In five minutes, the teams had to recreate their towers from scratch. The winning team from Feilden consisting of Ruari Kirkham (Third Form, Feilden), Emerson Perry (Third Form, Feilden), Harrison Proctor (Third Form, Feilden) and Jamie Sherratt (Third Form, Feilden) who produced a tower at 84.5cm tall using some great triangulation. This has been an incredibly fun challenge with great participation across all year groups.
'We were very lucky to be treated with a great presentation by Kyle Evans during STEM week. It included lots of audience participation and clever thinking to solve his problems and puzzles. One of his presentations included how many times you could fold different sizes of pieces of paper which linked in with the theme of sequences. Overall it was very enjoyable for everyone who participated and spectated and I hope we can see him again in the near future.'
Jack Harding (Fourth Form, Feilden)
Marcus' Marvellous Mathemagicians
'Third Form were treated to some Mathematics workshops on Friday afternoon to finish what has been an excellent STEM week. The workshops were delivered by Oxford University Mathematical Institute's outreach team, using material created by Professor Marcus de Sautoy. Marcus' Marvellous Mathemagicians helped us look at the Mathematics of games such as Monopoly and Noughts and Crosses, the odds of winning the lottery and current research problems such as the optimum way of packing a removals van, given certain conditions.
I was very pleased with the engagement shown by Third Form who actively participated in the activities; I hope this has developed their interest and inspired them to continue to extend their learning of Mathematics beyond the curriculum.'
'First Form pupils recently enjoyed a Space Masterclass which was delivered by the National Space Academy. As well as learning more about Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station, pupils designed and built their own rockets. They also learnt about the importance of studying the science of comets, so that we can try and determine if they brought water or even life to Earth. The First Form absolutely loved the inspiring and thought provoking workshop and I would like to thank the Annual Fund for making this possible.'