STEM Week at Solefield

Mr Budden, Director of STEM, Assistant Headteacher, Head of Mathematics

15th March 2024

This year, Solefield’s STEM Week followed the British Science Association theme of Time, a pertinent one for the school after celebrating our 75th Anniversary during 2023.

The week was introduced in assembly on Monday during which some of the boys and girls had the opportunity to compete in various activities against the clock and against members of staff! Mr J’s star jumps and Tom L from Year 8 on the wobble-board were particular highlights! 

We always use the Year 8s to lead and deliver activities throughout the school during the week and this year the boys were fantastic teachers and role models for the younger year groups. They ran sessions making Water Clocks with Years 3 and 4 and Sand Timers with the Pre-Prep at the beginning of the week. While the second half saw the Year 8s support Years 3 and 4 experiment with pendulums, and set the Pre-Prep challenges to be completed in different time frames.

Years 5, 6 and 7 were given the chance to get creative when filming their own time-lapse videos. Activities such as chess matches, artwork, board games, tours of the school and many more were documented using the iPads. These year groups also constructed Marble Runs out of Lego and were challenged to create tracks that took a specified amount of time to complete, a far harder task than it sounds. Even building a run to last for precisely 10 seconds was a real feat of engineering!

In STEM Scholarship, members continued their work on building Tensegrity structures, with one being successfully made, requiring perseverance in order to get all forces balanced perfectly. Meanwhile, members of STEM Club were busy creating a track that would result in the longest duration of continual movement. As the winners demonstrated, this did not necessarily mean the longest track and it was great to see members thinking creatively to solve the problem given to them. 

On Thursday, Professor Paul arrived at school. After an informative and captivating assembly using balloons and an air-zooka, all year groups were treated to a workshop looking at various aspects of time, dovetailing nicely with the theme of the week. 

Thursday was also the day in which we held our Rubik’s Cube Solving Competition. All year groups were invited to enter, if they wished to, in order to see who was the speediest solver at Solefield. Huge congratulations to Aryan N (6F) and Dom W (7P) who both posted times of 1 minute!

Our week finished on a real high note with the Year 7s and 8s presenting their research at the STEM Fair. Having worked in twos or threes over the course of the term researching their own area of interest in the topic of Time, the boys shared this with the rest of the school. As has now become tradition, it wasn’t just the research they presented, each stall accompanied their information with a related activity, competition or quiz - a fantastic way to engage the younger pupils with their work. We were treated to trips around race tracks on the VR headsets, potato clock demonstrations, timed challenges and testing questions. 

Throughout the week, Mrs Snow and the English department ran an ISEB-inspired writing competition on the theme of finding a Time Machine. Writers had to either go backwards or forwards 120 years and use that as the basis for their narrative. This produced a plethora of excellent pieces of work and selecting the winners to be nominated for the national competition was really challenging. The winners for each category will be announced in Final Assembly.

A busy, fun and educational week for all the pupils at school. More memories to last a life-time were created with all members of the school learning plenty along the way!