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Scott Curnell – Year 6 teacher at Cwmlai Primary School

For the love of STEM learning

Sparking a love for STEM subjects by letting pupils look right under the bonnet of race-cars…

Scott Curnell – Year 6 teacher at Cwmlai Primary School

What Scott did for the love of STEM learning

 

 
STEM skills are essential to a prosperous and sustainable economy in Wales, so we need to make sure our children and young people are developing them at all levels. During the summer term, my pupils took part in a STEM project where they had to build and race their very own electric race-cars.

 

Initially, the children thought they’d be building remote-control cars, so you can imagine their excitement and the buzz around the school when they realised that they could actually drive these cars and race them in an event.

 

The children took complete ownership of the project! First, they used tools and followed instructions to build the cars. Then they wrote letters to local companies to tell them all about the project and to request sponsorship and funding, and organised their own fundraising events in school. The last task was designing the outer shells of their cars and sourcing the materials needed.

 

Once the cars were built, they took them out into the yard, test-drove them, timed each other and calculated the average times, plotting all of this information onto scatter graphs. To say thank-you to the local businesses and organisations that got involved and provided funding, the children organised a sponsors day and invited all of the stakeholders into the school, showing them where their money had been spent.

 

We entered a race event organised by the charity Green Power, which took place on 22nd June. Competing against 15 other schools around England and Wales, we came 3rd in the Sprint Race, 2nd in the Slalom Race… and 1st in the Drag Race! The children also won a special award for the portfolio of work they’d produced, and the Overall Winner trophy!

 

“This project is an excellent example of how child-led learning can inspire pupils to become the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

 

In light of the new curriculum, we feel that this project is an excellent example of how child-led learning can inspire pupils to become the next generation of engineers and scientists. As well as having fun and enjoying themselves, the children have learned a very important lesson about the importance of sustainable energy.

 

For us, the project wasn’t just about school-based STEM. It was about teamwork, leadership, fundraising, marketing, project management, social media, sourcing, buying – but most of all, having fun.

 

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