On Thursday 16th June, Blue Coat welcomed 24 Y6 pupils from Paganel Primary, Chad Vale Primary and Thornton Primary for our inaugural STEM Outreach Competition.

The challenge was ‘Beat the Flood!’ The entire day was a competition, with marks awarded according to: design specification, quality of build construction, effectiveness of model, communication and teamwork. We started the day by discussing: What is climate change?  What causes climate change? Who is affected by climate change? The critical point is that if we are prepared for a flood, we can lessen the impact. 

Each team of 4 children was challenged to design and construct a model of a flood-resistant building. We thought about the various properties of materials, such as absorbance and strength. We studied many examples and discussed ideas before each team produced their own annotated design, carefully justifying each decision. The next step was to ‘get creative’ and bring the constructions to life. Each team then presented their finished model to the other groups. They had precisely one minute to share their ideas, which included solar panels and a wind turbine (for renewable energy), water recycling, stilts, curved roofs and robust, stable, floating structures. The final step was to test the efficacy of the designs. This involved a rain test (with a watering can) and a flood test (flooding using a hosepipe in the paddling pool).

The STEM day buzzed with enthusiasm, curiosity, perseverance, creativity, critical thinking and teamwork.  A key feature throughout was the need to employ a ‘Growth Mindset’ and learning from what didn’t work as much as what did. Following a hugely enjoyable and exciting experience, the children have developed fundamental life skills and an appreciation and understanding of the critical importance of Science, Technology and Mathematics. 

Mr Hulbert & Mrs Simmons