Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

We understand that STEM plays an integral role to pupils' education at Parkside and future life choices.  Parkside is strongly committed to inspiring pupils with regards to the world around them and the future role that they will play in exciting ventures. STEM is integrated throughout the curriculum at all years, as well as being a core focus for many inspiration and engagement events across the school.

We take part in county challenges (STEM works, KNEX), welcome guest speakers linked to STEM careers and provide opportunities for STEM extra-curricular clubs to allow pupils to explore possibilities that might not yet have been invented and solve problems that have not yet been discovered.

We appreciate the need to create fascination, engagement and aspiration within the STEM sector, giving our pupils the opportunities to be inspired to play an active and creative role, whilst making links between wider aspirations and their studies in school.

Lego Robotics Workshop

A group of Year 8 students got the opportunity to take part in an engineering workshop set up by Aston University.  The workshops were to help inspire the boys into thinking about engineering as a career path in the future.

The workshops were based around using Lego (for construction) and coding to make their 'robots' work. They were challenged throughout and had to work as part of a team to achieve the results needed. The group of students were a real credit to themselves and school and fully immersed themselves in the activities provided.

Lego workshop_2024_STEM

STEM NEXT Final 2024


Toby and Evan from Year 5 represented the school at the KNEX Final hosted by STEM Works on Thursday, 13th June. They participated in designing and constructing transport capable of moving a bridge, demonstrating advanced problem-solving and engineering skills.

Their exceptional teamwork contributed to a excellent performance where, despite not winning the overall final, they surpassed 4000 pupils across the county. Their exemplary behaviour and conduct throughout the event were truly commendable. Congratulations to Toby and Evan for their outstanding efforts!

Bletchley Park Visit 2024

On Thursday 6th June, we took 40 pupils across both key stages to Bletchley Park. We had a brilliant time exploring the historic site and soaking up all the fascinating information.

Our pupils were an absolute credit to the school, demonstrating outstanding conduct and behaviour throughout the whole day.

One of the highlights of the trip was when the pupils took part in a D-Day Coding workshop. They had the opportunity to decipher an encrypted message, just like the codebreakers at Bletchley Park did during World War II. It was fantastic to see them all getting stuck into the challenge!

One year 6 pupil commented “my favourite part was listening to the morse code and working out what the hidden message was about”.

To top it all off, we were blessed with beautiful weather and even got to witness a flyover to mark the 80th D-Day anniversary. It was a truly memorable moment that added an extra special touch to our day.

Overall, it was a day filled with learning, fun, and great experiences.

Bletchley Park Visit 2024 STEM

KNEX STEM Challenge

Knex Challenge 2024 STEM

What a fantastic morning of problem solving! On Thursday 21st March, 30 pupils from year 5 took part in the STEM Works KNEX challenge.  They were given an Engineering task to design a way of transporting a bridge from one area to another, using only KNEX pieces.  Evan and Toby won this years challenge and will represent the school at the upcoming final (in June).

All pupils worked brilliantly; demonstrating fantastic team work and communication skills.  Sarah (who delivered the workshop) was extremely impressed with all of the models built. We will keep  you updated on how Parkside do in the final.

Warwick University STEM Visit

A group of fifteen year 8 pupils were given the opportunity to visit Warwick University Maths and Engineering Department.  They were joined by KS3 pupils from other Spire Trust middle schools (Catshill, St. John's and Witton).  They were given a 'Careers using Maths' talk from the university staff and a tour of the department and wider campus, also having a chance to take part in different engineering activities, including origami maths, Dobble geometry and fluid dynamics through an aerofoil experiment.  All the pupils were enthused by the trip and we hope it has helped 'inspire their futures'.
'It was really good.  I'd do it again!' Mollie
'It was a massive campus and we were given lots of knowledge' Jayden
Warwick University STEM Visit_careers

Water Awareness

Water Awareness STEM
During our last week of this half term, both Key Stage 2 and 3 have taken part in a water awareness assembly delivered by Severn Trent.  The visitor shared photos and facts linked to looking after our water works and the importance of water for our planet.
Additionally, Rob from Severn Trent returned on the Wednesday to deliver a workshop to all year 5 pupils.  The interactive workshop allowed pupils to take part in a "quiz show", dress up with water awareness props and discuss the differences we can make to ensuring we take care of water.
Both events were well received and pupils enjoyed the fun-filled events.

Mars Day 2024

In recognition of Mars Day 2024, Year 5 had the opportunity to "Blast off to Mars" during a virtual experience. Throughout the afternoon, pupils were asked to vote on which spaceship (and supporting space technology) they would like for their mission to Mars. There was a question and answer session with many of our pupils asking thoughtful questions with interesting responses.

Two year 5 pupils quoted:

"I loved how they told us to pick what they would use, for example, what space craft we should board to get to Mars. Also Luna (the space dog) is so cute". Nicole O 5JP

"I loved the opportunity to learn about space (Mars) and seeing Luna the space dog." Oscar M 5JP

Mars Day 2024_1

Think Tank Visit 2024

Think Tank 2024 STEM.png

The Year 8 students embarked on an exciting trip to the Think Tank, where they immersed themselves in the world of science and discovery. The highlight of the trip was witnessing two captivating shows: "The Science of Sport" and "The Energy Show". Both shows were met with enthusiasm and enjoyment from all students. Throughout the day, the pupils exhibited exemplary behaviour and active engagement, making the trip a resounding success.

Think Tank 2024 STEM_2.png

Faraday Challenge 2024

Faraday Challenge_2

Parkside hosted a Faraday Challenge Competition this term, which was run by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). A number of our Year 8 students took part in teams of six; and we were also joined by teams of pupils from three other local schools.

The IET Faraday® Challenge Days are cross-curricular activity days covering Science, Design and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). They are held at schools, organisations and universities around the UK.

The students taking part had the opportunity to research real-life engineering problems. They had a great day coming up with designs and solutions to these problems; and learning about how engineering is relevant in many situations. They worked well together in their teams, behaved exceptionally well and really enjoyed the experience.

Adam Kay's Virtual Book Launch

Over the last two weeks, KS2 pupils have watched a virtual book launch by the author Adam Kay.  His latest book, Incredible Inventions, has been added to the school library and pupils finished the session full of excitement to seek Adam Kay’s books.

Adam Kay_2

When asked about the virtual book launch, pupils said:

“It was very interesting and I enjoyed the history.”

“I like how he said he was a random kid who had no training and now is a famous author.”

During the video, the book’s illustrator Henry Paker sketched inventions and shared these.  Many pupils commented that they enjoyed watching what the illustrator was drawing and hearing what inspired him.

Tomorrow's Engineer Week 2023

All pupils have enthusiastically engaged in a STEM week to celebrate Tomorrows Engineering week (6th-10th November) and recognise National STEM Day (8th November).  As part of a whole school assembly, pupils were given information on what STEM stands for, how it links to “Every Lesson Counts” and the potential influence STEM subjects could have on their futures.  

Each year group participated in STEM virtual visits from many outside speakers.

Year 5 had a presentation about gaming and esports and how technology has enhanced the way people play video games.  The guest speaker talked about Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and some pupils went on to design their own VR gaming platform.  

STEM WEEK_2023_2

The pupils were extremely enthusiastic with one year 5 pupil stating “the talk gave me lots of ideas about what I can do when I’m older”.   The guest speaker said “I really enjoyed the session with the children. Their enthusiasm and energy were absolutely humungous!”

Year 6 had a presentation from a Navel Architect.  They were also given the opportunity to become a STEM PenPal with a lady who works as an Engineer.  These postcards have been sent off to the Engineer who will personally respond to each pupil.  We excitedly await these replies.

On Wednesday, Year 7 had a virtual visit from a gentleman named Ollie. He is a motorsports engineer and presented about his career in the Pitlane.  There were so many question answered about Formula 1 racing and the career pathway Ollie had taken.  The pupils enjoyed “learning about who inspired him” and finding out about what qualifications are needed to become a Pit Lane Developer.

Finally, Year 8 pupils had two question and answer sessions. One with a STEM ambassador regarding STEM careers and routes into various professions and a second with a medical statistician.  She discussed what the job entails, her route into the career and why they may wish consider this in the future. The guest speaker said “the pupils certainly seemed very engaged” and she would happily come to speak with our pupils again.

It has been a busy yet fun-filled STEM week.  We are incredibly proud of how they represented the school during the week; demonstrating the Parkside Standard at its highest.  The feedback from the pupils was also overwhelmingly positive with many pupils inspired for their futures.

World Space Week 2023

On Friday 6th October, year 7 and 8 pupils recognised World Space Week with a virtual space talk.  The guest speaker, Dr Vicky Fawcett  is an astronomer from Newcastle University.  She discussed how to become an astronomer (sharing her career pathway) and explained her research into black holes.
Following the virtual talk, pupils were given the opportunity to ask Dr Fawcett further question.  Pupils were also given the opportunity to discuss their own career thoughts and research the pathways into those careers.
Pupils said "she explained the facts very well" and they found "telescopes and her educational journey" interesting.
World Space Week STEM

Leaves on the Line

On Thursday 29th June, Year 5 welcomed National Rail into their classroom for an hour STEM workshop called “Leaves on the line”.  Pupils were challenged to think about solutions to when leaves reduce the railway services.

One pupil from 5JB said “I enjoyed mixing the liquids and solids to make a new gel to stop leaves getting on the railway line”.

The pupils worked brilliantly in teams applying their knowledge of Science (electrical conductivity) and represented the school perfectly (demonstrating the Parkside Standard).


Meet the Astronauts

On Thursday 2nd February, Year 5 had the pleasure of meeting Helen Sharman (the first British astronaut) during a virtual question and answer session. Prior to the event, the pupils were given the opportunity to submit questions which were addressed throughout the exciting live lesson. This activity links to their current Science topic "The Earth and Beyond".
Freddie commented, "I like how it answered all our questions and encouraged children to go to space."
Tyler said, "It was fascinating and encouraged under 18s to go to space."
Josh recalled he, "liked the quotes that the astronauts shared to 'believe in yourself' and 'try your hardest at all you do'."
Helen Sharman

Kids' Inventors Day

On Tuesday 16th January 2023, to recognise Kids' Inventors Day, Year 6 took part in an inventor's challenge.  They were given play dough and spaghetti and set the challenge to create a free-standing structure or a bridge.  They had limited time and resources. All pupils demonstrated excellent resilience to achieve the task.
Kids Inventors Day 2023