Wednesday 28th September 2022
Science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) came to Wittering Primary School last week as STEM Ambassadors from Royal Air Force Wittering held a special enrichment event.
STEM enrichment events are designed for younger students and complement a school’s existing syllabus. The theme of this event was structures, and how structures can be found everywhere. Year Three pupils incorporated their enrichment event into the class topic of Mexican and Aztec culture.
Warrant Officer Steve Poulton is RAF Wittering’s Youth Activities Liaison Officer and a qualified STEM Ambassador with more than 30 years of military logistics experience, said:
“Getting children into STEM subjects at an early age is really important, so that they get used to using numbers and understanding the basics of how science, engineering and technology work together and how they feature in everyday life.”
Rolled up newspapers were the building materials the students used for their structures. The old newspapers are tightly rolled and glued using a special machine, which gives them extra rigidity and strength. They are extremely versatile building materials, and, by the end of the day, the pupils had created a whole range of structures, from houses to totem poles and more.
Emma Griffiths is the Design and Technology lead at Wittering Primary School, said:
“I want the children to know that the skills we teach them in design and technology can transfer into real life jobs such as those of engineers, whether that be a civilian or military roles. I think it’s really important that STEM learning has a real purpose and the children can be inspired by the people in those roles.”
RAF Wittering’s Youth Engagement Team is made up from engineering and logistics officers. The team are all qualified STEM ambassadors but, importantly, they are all enthusiastic educators who understand the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths in the real word.
A year three pupil said:
“This is really good because we are making things with our own hands and understanding how to use the newspapers to make structures which are strong and can stand up by themselves. The RAF people from the base are making it very interesting and fun to do.”
Wittering Primary School educates children from 4 – 11 years and has a close relationship with RAF Wittering, not least because many of the pupils are children from military families. The school prides itself on an inclusive approach to education and continually encourages children to live up to its motto of ‘Try Hard, Be Kind, Fly High’.
Wing Commander Nicola Duncan, Officer Commanding Support Wing at RAF Wittering spoke with the pupils at Wittering Primary as they were building their structures. She said:
“This is absolutely the right age for STEM learning, and we have a great team at RAF Wittering. Children have an instinctive feel for STEM subjects, and you could see immediately that the pupils were fascinated by what they were doing.”