Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These subjects, known collectively as STEM, pervade every part of our lives in the 21st century.

They make up part of our daily routines everywhere in the world around us and technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives.

Prioritising STEM is a focus of all schools across the Aspirations Academies Trust as it ties in with a key ethos of the Trust: preparing pupils to thrive in the 21st century workplace.

The 15 schools across the Trust now all have Creator Spaces to help achieve this purpose. The areas are filled with a range of equipment from a Green Screen and Do Ink software App to a 3D Ultimaker printer and Tinkercad software (so children can learn computer aided design), woodworking equipment, and Lego education software. Other items include Microbits, Codebugs, a water bottle rocket launcher, K’NEX kits, snap electronic kits, soldering irons and VR headsets.

Children with STEM skills are the next generation of innovators. According to the latest research, STEM occupations are growing at almost twice the rate as non-STEM careers. Statistics also reveal those in STEM careers have a higher income than those who are not.

At Ocean Academy in Poole, pupils will now have regular access to STEM. The array of technology available to them could see them transported to the rainforest or Egypt as part of their daily learning!

Here, teacher Kelly Jordan, outlines the STEM plans hatched during a recent INSET day.

Ocean Academy students pictured enjoying time in the school’s Creator Space

Ms Jordan, who has been inspired by Chris Woods author of Daily STEM : How to create a STEM culture in your classrooms and communities, said: ‘’Our Creator Space was built over lockdown. All the equipment has been installed and the inset day was spent with staff becoming familiar with the equipment and how it can be best used to bring learning to life.

 ‘’We discussed what is STEM/STEAM and why it is so important for the children. Children who have the ability to think creatively and problem solve will be ready for the future. 

‘’STEM is all about using creativity, communication, collaboration, divergent thinking and critical thinking both within and beyond the curriculum. It is important to nurture so that we can equip children with the skills to solve real life problems in their chosen careers. For this to happen we need to create authentic learning experiences for the children and provide them with relevant opportunities to learn. 

‘’At Ocean we want to create, nurture and share STEM across the whole school community. We talked about our Ocean vision is to move from occasional STEM in the classroom or once a week to an embedded culture of STEM learning. ’We would like every student to experience STEM daily, whether it’s news articles about STEM that they read or using the Creator Space.”

Steps to achieve Ocean’s STEM vision: 

1.     Raise the profile of STEM/STEAM through timetabled and regular use of the Creator Space. 

2.     Engage whole school community. 

3.     Children to have ready access to crafting materials/tinkercad/microbits in the class.  

4.     Embed the freedom to invent and create because the core of STEM is the ability to breakdown complex systems and create something new.

5.     Schedule in regular career talks/scientist talks via Zoom/Skype.

6.     Send out regular supporting STEM ideas to all teachers and TAs on how they can embed STEM throughout the curriculum.