Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Setting up a Club


Setting up a STEM Club



If you want to set up a STEM club, there is a lot of material online to help you.  You can also get help from the school, other ambassadors, and support from others in the School Gate SET community. 

Here are 7 suggestions to get you started:

1) Teach Primary has got a great brief overview of STEM Clubs - aimed at teachers, but lots of useful links to inspire you to get going. 

2) STEMNET has a step-by-step guide for setting up a STEM Club.  You don't have to let your local STEMNET contact know you've got a club, but it is a good idea, as they may have resources they can offer, as well as general advice and support. The STEMNET Clubs website is well worth a look, including the specific information for STEM Ambassadors, and how to fund your club. It has extensive links to activity resources, so it is worth bookmarking!

3) Science Clubs – a professional development unit from the Primary Science Teaching Trust. This is written for teachers, and is now a few years old, so not all the links work, but the content is great, very thorough and very practical. Unlike quite a lot of material on line, this is specifically aimed at primary schools.   There are interviews with STEM Ambassador, Sarah Walton, about her experience of being involved in a club.

4) CREST Star is a UK-wide award scheme run by the British Science Association encouraging primary school children to solve STEM problems through practical investigation. It costs £40 to register which gives you access to all their investigations and resources for a year.  After that annual renewal costs £20. 

We tried these resources in our club, but, to be honest, the children didn’t want to do the writing and recording so they didn’t progress to get the awards.  I was happy to let them explore and just talk, so we ended up doing less structured activities. I think the fact that our club was after school on a Friday contributed to their reluctance.  Look at Vicky Raynor’s blog for a personal insight in using these resources more successfully!  (Kate Bellingham)

5) Six Week STEM Club is an initiative from MerseySTEM, again designed for teachers to run, but there is lots of advice that would be useful for a School Gate SET parent. It is aimed at someone keen to run a club, but wary of the commitment. Although the initiative is designed for clubs in secondary school, it’s well worth a look. 

6) Young Engineers support primary STEM clubs including the free loan of kits for running a Making Knexions event.  They also run STEM Challenge events where their leaders run the activities designing and building rockets, drag racers or hydro-electric generators and develop the children’s team working and interpersonal skills.

7) If you want to set up an after school  Code Club, there are lots of resources to help.  There are already over 2,000 set up round the UK, so you are likely to find someone local to mentor you. Meanwhile CoderDojo is worth a look - it's a global network of clubs.

Let us know how you get on, so others can learn from your experience, and do get in touch if you have anything the School Gate SET community can help you with.


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