To expose secondary school pupils to the wide range of STEM careers available to them. To allow them to interact with real scientists and engineers in an informal environment to encourage them to ask questions and gain knowledge about different ways into STEM careers.
Summary of activity:
Coordinated with several schools in the North East of Scotland to bring STEM Ambassadors in to speak to students. Sessions generally lasted a class period and consisted of groups of students (5-8 in number) rotating through a number of STEM Ambassadors for short periods of time and speaking with them about their careers.
Feedback forms were sent to both Ambassadors and teachers asking for summaries of 'what went well' and 'ways to improve'. Teachers were also asked to rate if the event had any impact on the following areas: Directly
supported their learning; Assisted careers awareness; Gave relevance
to learning; Improved motivation/ aspirations.
What went well:
1. Students gained a knowledge of the wide variety of STEM careers available to them beyond the 'usual' gamut of doctor, engineer, etc.
2. Teachers were able to interact with Ambassadors to gain knowledge as well as inspiration for ways to enhance their STEM curriculum.
3. Ambassadors were able to see what students are learning and what their views on different subjects were, allowing them to tailor their interaction (now and in the future) for maximum impact.
What was learned:
1. Sessions worked best with small groups of students from STEM-related subject areas (Higher Physics, Advanced Higher Biology, etc) as these students were already considering STEM careers for themselves.
2. It's hard to encourage students to ask questions, but providing prompts sometimes helps.
3. Make sure to provide water for the speakers - talking is thirsty work!