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STEM Week 2024

8th April 2024

STEM Week at St Margaret’s is a five-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths that takes place each March. The week-long programme brings together teachers, students and families to engage in activities, experiments and discussions that showcase and promote STEM education.

Beginning the week with a visit from Meet the Beasts, Senior School pupils were up close and personal with a boa constrictor, scorpions, tarantulas and a gecko, and spent time learning about these often-feared creatures and the habitats they call home.

Throughout the week, pupils were invited to attend talks by experts in STEM fields, from electrical engineering to molecular biology and biomedical science. By highlighting the achievements and contributions of scientists, STEM Week aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators, and create a community that is passionate about science and technology. Dr Beth Lane took pupils through a whirlwind career journey, starting in the marketing department at Red Bull through to teaching Computer Science here at St Margaret’s, as well as her continued research into how AI can assist in diagnosing heart disease.

Our Year 12 Science A-Level pupils had a very special opportunity to tour the incredible Diamond Light Source facility, listening to a talk on the underlying physics that allows a synchrotron particle accelerator to produce X-rays capable of doing crystallography on the smallest of proteins.

The highlight of the week however has to be the STEM Fair, an event buzzing with 45 pupils presenting on 22 STEM-related projects. We met up with Jay, in Year 10, who was looking deep down into the theoretical world of string theory, providing a demonstration of the rigorous science behind it with cloth ball planets and ‘a big pinch of salt’.

“String theory is not the easiest topic, but once I got interested in it in class, I ended up down a rabbit hole, exploring more and more, until presenting at the fair no longer seemed a challenge I could not overcome”

And Minnah and Tanishka, in Year 8, who chose to cast their eyes upwards to the different phases of the moon, testing their audiences on the dangers of looking directly at an eclipse. Shuban in Year 8 took a hobby of his, the collection of model trains, and turned it into an entire miniature, spending weeks saving from odd jobs to afford the materials to put together an impressive display.

Others like Olive and Ella, also in Year 8, were already looking forward to next year and how they could expand on a project months in the making. Experimenting with different brands of gum to test exactly which makes the best bubble (Hubba Bubba for all those wondering), they are now planning to progress their experiment for next year by making and testing their own sample.

Every pupil from Y6-13 had the opportunity to visit the fair, ask questions, take part in practical experiments and ultimately vote for the winning project. And to round it off, the week was celebrated with a screening of the ultimate STEM movie: Back To The Future.

STEM Week provides a platform for dialogue and collaboration, fostering a sense of shared responsibility towards advancing STEM education for our next generation of scientists, and Mr Browne, Head of Physics and STEM Week Lead, is in no doubt of the benefits of the project:

“This week provided the opportunity for pupils to be free to be curious and it was a joy to see the pupils enjoy being a part of it”
STEM Week 2024 Video TBN

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