Recently at Adept, I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about the challenges of promoting and enhancing STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering & Maths) learning. This weekend, I did my bit to show fourteen 6-year olds that science really is fun and very relevant to everyday life. But I’m not talking lab coats and lectures, rather a Sublime Science party to celebrate my son’s 6th birthday!
Our Sublime Science presenter, ‘Biohazard Ben’, arrived at our home armed with all kinds of equipment and concoctions to engage and excite kids. And for the next few hours my son’s friends were kept busy making slime, sherbet, smoke bubbles, soda rockets and more. They learnt how vibrations make sound, how Bernoulli’s Principle can be used to inflate a long silk tube fast, how rockets work thanks to Newton’s three laws, and took part in a tornado relay race! Without really realising it, every child had the chance to put science and physics theories into practice, and have a great time doing it!
During the party, I couldn’t help but think about my dad who was a secondary school science teacher for 30-odd years. Even back then, trying to teach and inspire children with varying abilities was a challenge to say the least. I’ve seen him bulk buy Airfix model aircraft to build with his class in a bid to impart theories about aerodynamics! It just goes to show the challenge of teaching STEM subjects isn’t exactly a new problem.
My son now tells me he wants to be a scientist or geologist. And while he’s got plenty of time yet to decide on his career, I’m pleased his science party might have inspired him or one of his classmates to take up a lab coat or hard hat in the future.