STEM Conference – Sept 2016

At St Mark’s School we are committed to working closely with our local primary schools, sharing our expertise and resources to the benefit of pupils, and supporting them with their transition into secondary school.

This term we kicked off our Red Letter Masterclasses with our first ever Year 6 and 7 STEM Conference, aimed at providing Year 7 students at St Mark’s and Year 6 pupils from St Stephen’s, St Saviour’s, St Andrew’s, Batheaston (Year 5s) and Swainswick Primary Schools with a wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences to encourage the uptake of challenging STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) at secondary school. Over 200 children took part engaging in eight different workshops across the spectrum of STEM subjects.

The event comprised a dynamic mix of workshops and activities, provided by our teaching professionals, partners at the University of Bath, University of West of England, University of Bristol and local businesses, including:

  • Explorer Dome – an interactive planetary workshop in our very own space dome;
  • Crime Face Recognition – working with members of the Computer Explorers team to learn and use the latest in face recognition technology and solving a hypothetical crime
  • Marble Run – an engineering workshop provided by PhD Women in Engineering students at the University of Bath to test pupils design and engineering skills;
  • Building Bridges – an interactive bridge-building workshop by the outreach team at the University of Bath, using just sticky tape and paper, with the ultimate test of seeing how much load the bridge could bear before collapsing;
  • DIY Extraction – learning the art of DNA extraction using everyday ingredients found around the home;
  • Analysing Microbes – students discovered an amazing miniature world using university level microscopes and supported by staff at the University of West of England.

STEM Conference 2016

The day started with an exploding assembly by Dr Alison Rivett from the University of Bristol as she demonstrated the many gases in the air and how they react under different circumstances and pressures, including some very impressive balloon explosions. In the afternoon, we were joined by Dr Andrew Ross from the University of Bath in his assembly entitled ‘States of Matter’, culminating in some very impressive liquid nitrogen ice-cream making.

The STEM Conference provided a unique introduction for prospective pupils to our Open Event season and promoted the many amazing opportunities and experiences on offer at St Mark’s School. Primary pupils enjoyed their taste of life at St Mark’s School whilst our Year 7 students had the chance to stretch and challenge their STEM subject knowledge, act as student ambassadors throughout the day and help to lead the teams throughout the activities and workshops.

Following our successful Open Evening, we look forward to welcoming prospective families to St Mark’s at our forthcoming Open Mornings on Thursday 29th September and Friday 7th October and our Enrichment Afternoon on Friday 14th October, where prospective pupils will have an opportunity to try out our After School Clubs and experience the broad range of programmes on offer.