17 March 2020

STEM Week 2020

Our annual STEM Week took place on 2 March, welcoming over 1900 children from 17 primary school to a variety of interactive workshops and shows.

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Our annual STEM Week took place on 2 March, welcoming over 1900 children from 17 primary schools to a variety of interactive workshops and shows.

We were delighted to provide this fantastic opportunity for the young pupils to access our STEM facilities and resources, which they don’t have access to in their own schools. One group launched a rocket on campus before visiting NASA in a virtual reality session, while others watched a show on Liquid Nitrogen delivered by Sevenoaks Physics teacher James Tate, and took part in a squid dissection with Biology teacher John Witton.

One school said, ‘The 94 children we brought were enraptured by the demonstrations: they were challenging and scientifically rigorous but explained so clearly.’

This year we expanded on previous Science Weeks by running 7 Science and 5 Technology lessons for KS2 pupils, led by Sevenoaks teachers and assisted by our students. Pupils got to go pond dipping in Biology, made slime in Chemisty and learnt about the engineering behind constructing bridges using K-nex.

We also welcomed back Science Made Simple, who performed their interactive shows for KS1 children on the science behind bubbles and transportation, with one lucky pupil getting to try out the hovercraft! They also ran Mad Lab workshops in our Science Centre, where Year 5 and 6 students soldered electronic components onto specially-designed circuit boards to create a flashing light which they got to take away with them.

Throughout the week Sevenoaks School students also enjoyed a range of events and activities, such as the Trauma Team workshops from Barts Health NHS Trust, where pupils looked at blood trauma, and a talk from geneticist, broadcaster and author Adam Rutherford.

Dr Rutherford spoke on his new book, How to Argue with a Racist, introducing the audience to research into the DNA of modern and ancient humans and what it says and doesn’t say about ancestry, skin colour, sporting ability and intelligence. He discussed the history of racist ideology, the pseudoscience used by its proponents, and the legacy and influence of Enlightenment ideas about race on our contemporary behaviour and attitudes. Thanks to Sevenoaks Bookshop for supporting the event with book sales. 

Head of Science and Technology at Sevenoaks School, Dr Ali Galloni said ‘It was great to see our own students explaining everything from electromagnetism to pond invertebrates to Junior School pupils during the junior science workshops. The visiting pupils also seemed to enjoy the Technology workshops put on by teachers, and we are also grateful to Science Made Simple who engaged large audiences with balloons, bubbles and their hovercraft. We look forward to welcoming local Year 6 and Year 7 pupils back to our second Galactic Challenge (the junior version of the UK Space Design Competition) which will take place in September. Details will be on our Outreach website in the coming weeks.’

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