Whole school enjoys STEM activity day thanks to education grant

An education grant from the Rochester Bridge Trust enabled children from a Special School to make the most of a STEM learning day.

Bower Grove School in Maidstone received a grant for £814 to buy materials to enable around 200 pupils to take part in the activities.

Maths Subject Leader Andy Croft said: “Pupils worked collaboratively and there was a lovely atmosphere of productivity in the corridors and outside throughout the day. We’re grateful to the Trust for sponsoring this event.”

Materials purchased included a range of construction supplies, from dowels and elastic bands to art straws and Kapla planks.

A number of teachers said the dowel and construction tasks were “the best lessons they had ever taken with class X or Y” and the day was considered a success by all.

Andy Croft added: “The children were engaged and enjoyed the opportunity to think about their local environment in a different way, and the teachers and LSAs were inspired to try new things. For example, one teacher tasked her pupils with piecing together a giant modern map of the River Medway, which they then compared with an ancient map of the same area.

“At the end of the day it was great to see so many pupils on the field, admiring each other’s work and commenting on the spectacle as the installations were being completed.”

Many of the materials are re-usable and are now being put to good use in other ways, for example the dowels and elastic bands which were used to build tetrahedrons are now being used in lessons about Pythagoras. There are also plans to take these to a conference for Special Schools, to show other maths leaders how straightforward the challenges can be.

Bower Grove School is a Special School for children aged five to 16 with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) related difficulties.

Andrew Freeman, Grants and Operations Manager at the Rochester Bridge Trust, added: “We put a lot of importance on hands-on learning and encouraging young people to experience the subjects they are learning in the classroom and so we were pleased to be able to support this STEM activity day.

“It’s great to hear how much both the children and the teachers enjoyed all the activities and we hope this example will encourage other schools and community groups to apply for an education grant to support their engineering education initiatives.”

To find out more about Rochester Bridge Trust engineering education grants, click here.

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