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.

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).


STEM Final 2023

On Thursday 15th Amilie-Lou and Kiean represented Parkside at the STEM works, Primary Maths Challenge Final. They demonstrated exemplary behaviour, teamwork and resilience.  Although they didn't win the overall competition they did incredibly well to get in to the final, out of 3,000 pupils who took part across schools in Worcestershire!
On the day, they had to build a model robot out of Knex, that would be used to transport packages around a factory.  The design criteria stated the model had to fit onto a A3 piece of paper and include mechanisms (such as pulleys and levers).
Whilst the models were being judged, Amilie-Lou and Kiean got to visit the Mazak factory to watch real life robots create, design and build. It was a very enjoyable day and the pupils were brilliant.

STEM Works KNEX Challenge

Once again, we had the pleasure of welcoming Sarah into our school for the STEM works KNEX challenge.  Pupils were given the task to create a robot which had the ability to sort items within their model factory.  Their model had to include a robot, a set of shelves and parcels. All the pupils represented the school with excellent attitude, conduct and used resilience to complete the task.

They presented confidently to the group and could answer question about the relevant parts of their design.  The pupils who were selected as the Parkside winners will go on to the final to represent our school in June.

KNEX Workshop 2023

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

Birmingham Think Tank Visit

On Friday 13th January all our year 8s visited the Birmingham Think Tank Museum.

Children got to explore the award-winning science museum and even managed to experience interactive Science shows. The children relished the opportunity to explore the vast number of galleries and historical artefacts, modern interactives and fantastic futuristic facts. The whole of year 8 represented Parkside beautifully and we look forward to taking them on their next trip soon.


Amazon Factory Virtual Tour

Year 5 were given a virtual tour of the Amazon factory in Manchester on Friday 14th October.  The aim of the trip was to inspire the next generation of tech experts by allowing them to experience the real-world learning of robotics within the factory.  All pupils were extremely well behaved during the event and asked many thoughtful and exciting questions at the end.  One year 5 pupil said “I really enjoyed the tour and liked hearing about the career choices at the Amazon factory”. Another pupil commented that “the robots were like the ones we are designing in DT at the moment”.  Hopefully, we can run this tour with other year groups, later in the year.

Medical Mavericks

Medical Mavericks 2022

On Thursday 3rd March, all pupils watched an assembly delivered by the Medical Mavericks. During the assembly, pupils volunteer to demonstrate the use of a range of medical equipment (such as an infra-red vein scanner, an electro cardio graph and an ophthalmoscope).

Throughout the assembly, pupils were informed of NHS career pathways (including a vascular scientist, a medical engineer and a cardiac physiologist) and routes into those careers. The pupils were very enthusiastic and engaged throughout the assembly.

One year 5 pupil said "I enjoyed finding out about the different jobs in the NHS that weren't medical".

Whilst another pupil reported "I liked seeing the different medical equipment and seeing what they do".