The Cornwall College Group has been working alongside a Cornish primary school to provide students with an inspiring crash course in studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The STEM outreach activity was delivered by Cornwall College staff over six weekly sessions to 90 Year 6 students from Penryn Primary School. The sessions have been designed to raise awareness of the diverse range of exciting careers that exist within STEM subjects and to uncover the different professions and disciplines that the students may not have previously been aware of.
The students from the school were tasked with producing a poster illustrating possible scientific solutions that could be put into place to alleviate certain global issues. Students selected to investigate either the causes of climate change, marine conservation concerns or terrorism.
Year 6 teacher from Penryn Primary School, Richard Pascoe, said: “The children were delighted to be given the chance to present their work at the university. They had learnt so much during the course of the STEM project and the teachers and academics from the university agreed that they had produced fantastic, information-packed posters. In addition, the children had explored different careers and become more aware of the routes into higher education.”
During the final session, the students displayed their project work as poster presentations at the University of Exeter campus in Penryn. University staff, students and other guests were invited to attend and see the exhibition of work and discuss with the students what they had learnt. Following presentations from university student ambassadors, an award was given to the most interesting project and the winning team were given certificates and a STEM themed prize.
The activity ties into a wider initiative of raising aspirations in relation to studying STEM subjects that the College currently leads.
Mark Nason, Director of Science & Natural Environment at The Cornwall College Group, said: “It’s been fantastic to see The Cornwall College Group and the University of Exeter working collaboratively to achieve the goal of a raised awareness of STEM for primary aged children in the local area. The intention of these activities is not to try to persuade the children that they should be interested in science or that they should aspire to go to university- we make that very clear from the start.
“These kids do not lack aspirations, no children do, but they need our investment and support to realise the full range of opportunities that are available to them. We know that by working with primary age children particularly, we can have real impact. That’s the only way we can hope to fulfil the skills requirements of the UK STEM sector, but more importantly, STEM qualifications can provide social mobility and incredible opportunities for young people in Cornwall.”