We interviewed Katie Hope, Head of Physics at Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno, who recently took part in some of our Have a Go workshops with her students, and how she used them to complement her teaching.
Katie finds her learners are most engaged when the science they are learning is related to them, and they can envision their potential roles in STEM in real-world contexts, for example explaining the ability to read data could make jobs with a certain salary achievable for them.
A key part of the workshop structure is the ‘My Story’ section, where industry professionals invited to the session can explain their role and their career journey to their current position, which the Ysgol John Bright students found particularly interesting.
Katie’s students “wanted to know how these people had got from being in the same position as the students, to where they are now, and therefore more generally what STEM could do for them.”
The Have a Go kits also offer the opportunity for students to be involved in more varied practicals than are often possible within school lessons, which can help to inspire and engage them in subjects they may not have previously considered interesting to them.
“We had the best time doing the Have a Go workshops” explains Katie, “the students got stuck in and they keep asking me when they can do it again”.
For Katie, it was important that the kit and workshops could adapt to what would work best for her learners. She explained that due to Covid’s impact on teaching, the school could not allow the time out during the school day for the workshops to be held, so she worked with the ISE team to revise the programme into shorter, after school sessions. The workshop structure was also easily adapted, with greater emphasis and time allowance for the practical element of the session, which kept the students well engaged.
“I know the students loved it because we had full attendance every week, and attendance in after school activities is a real popularity indicator” says Katie.
With changes to the curriculum on the horizon, STEM will no longer be simply Science and Maths, but will better incorporate Design Technology, allowing students to make things for themselves, rather than use pre-made items in their investigations. This hands-on approach is a key part of the Have a Go kits, which encourage students to get involved and try everything for themselves.
“I would definitely recommend the Have a Go workshops and I would like to say thank you to the ISE team for letting us run the project the way we wanted to, and I really hope the partnership continues into the future” Katie Hope, Ysgol John Bright.
Katie is creating her own Have a Go kit which she hopes to roll out to other schools across Wales. The kit will centre around a career, idea and exam-style questions based on a topic, one of which will be hydroelectric power. The workshop will look at all the roles in a power station, from engineers through to graphic designers and science communicators, in order to engage all students in the class, not simply those interested in more traditional roles within STEM. After this, students will take part in investigations, based on the practical element which will be building a water wheel out of paper plates and plastic spoons, to understand how many paddles on the wheel are required to produce a certain amount of electricity. The session will then look at hydroelectric power more generally, and its role in the National Grid, before answering exam questions.
To find out more information on the Have A Go programme and the kits available please visit the webpage; https://inspiringskills.gov.wales/have-a-go, or feel free to contact us via the information below:
Call us on 07385 419 205 or 07385 419 209
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org