STEM

STEM stands for Science Technology and Maths and its mission statements include:

  • Broadening the horizons of our students to possible STEM-related careers.
  • Bridging gender gaps sometimes found in maths and science fields.
  • Forging links with local industries.
  • Developing links with local primary schools.

Students participate in regular field trips. Where among other things, they see how STEM is employed within industry and how STEM relates to A-levels, University and beyond.

In addition, a thriving extra curricular STEM club is held after school once a week. During STEM club, students are able to extend and indulge their love of STEM subjects, by learning subject material which is beyond the standard curriculum, participating in live web chats with real-life engineers and promoting STEM throughout the school. STEM Ambassadors occasionally visit during club time to speak and interact with the students and past STEM Ambassadors have included people involved in motorsport, archaeology, geology and medicine.

Some highlights of Wyvern STEM events in the 2016-2017 academic year:

Carl Shield, leading race winner in the BMW M3 Cup in conjunction with Go Motorsport ambassador, Peter Metcalfe, explained the science and engineering of Cars BMW M3 racing car to a captive audience. Some budding race engineers were given the opportunity to take a seat in the car and get a hands on experience of real, actual Formula 1 car parts!

Another consequence of the visit was to show that motorsport is not gender specific, with women being able to compete toe to toe with the men in any of the various areas. One of the aims of STEM Club is to close the historical gender gap that STEM-based subjects exhibit and show that gender and social background should never be a hindrance to success.

Pupils of all ages have taken part in a number of activities both in and out of school. The Big Bang Fair Tees Valley, part of the Big Bang North East Program, was attended by a selection of our Y10 students. The program of events designed to get young people aged 11 – 19 excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the real world, was ‘mind blowing’ for those who attended.

On the day, the students took part in science and engineering hands-on workshops shows and drop-in activity sessions, all delivered by leading businesses and universities.

Some of the activities included virtual reality, the history of coal mining and the physics of Viking weaponry! Regarding the latter, one of our Wyvern students bravely volunteered for weapon demonstrations and happily emerged alive to tell the tale!

A select group of our Year 8 scientists took part in the STEM Ambassadors Scheme, which is ran in conjunction with Durham University and the National Institute of Physics. On the day, the students learned presentation skills and how to plan and deliver a range of activities.  The aim was for pupils to return to school and help to teach younger classes and to give them more freedom in how they would like the after school STEM Club to be run.

After the event, some of our students stayed behind after school and devoted over five hours of their own free time, into planning and designing a lesson to deliver to their fellow classmates. The lesson was on the dangers of outer space and its effects on the human body. Observing the lesson, it was amazing to see the students taking such an active role in the teaching and learning of others. Going forward into 2017 and 2018, our Wyvern STEM Ambassadors are very keen on providing Science outreach to the local primary schools, in order to forge stronger links and assist with the transition of Y6 students going intoY7.

A selection of our Year 9 students were also selected to attend an event being run in conjunction with Darlington College and DeepOcean. The aim of the day was to demonstrate the engineering principles of testing and problem solving, in the context of designing and operating a submersible ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).

The students had a really fun day and learned a lot about how trial and error plays such an important role within engineering and that if you don’t succeed at first, then try and try again!

The Cummins engine plant in Darlington recently celebrated their 50th anniversary and some of our students attended a workshop day, which was held at the factory.

The students were treated to an extremely rare tour of the plant and were shown how engines are built from scratch from its many components. They then got the opportunity to build their own 4-stroke diesel Lego engine!

In addition, the students got to meet and talk to several of Cummins’ highly-trained employees and gained an appreciation of the diverse nationalities and backgrounds of people involved in STEM careers.

One of the more recent events was the Festival of Ingenuity, which was a celebration and showcase of the engineering expertise in Darlington and the surrounding local area. Exhibitors included Cummins, Cleveland Bridge, 3M, Teesside University, Darlington College, Durham University and DeepOcean. Throughout the day, our students engaged with activities and workshops including, building model structures, simulating a production line, using smart materials and 3D modelling.

Wyvern students also competed in two competitions to build the best load-bearing structures and did themselves proud, by winning both challenges against the five other schools who were also in attendance!

In addition to the field trips, the STEM Club also runs a weekly after school session. In the sessions, students are able to extend and indulge their love of STEM subjects, by learning subject material which is beyond the standard curriculum, participating in medium-term projects and even taking part in live web chats with real-life engineers. Wyvern Academy’s STEM mission statement includes:

  • Broadening the horizons of our students to possible STEM-related careers.
  • Encouraging and blossoming our students love of STEM subjects.
  • Bridging gender gaps sometimes found in maths and science fields.
  • Forging links with local industries.
  • Developing links with local primary schools.