Students at Stroud High School have been presenting their project work to engineers and scientists over the last few days. They started their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects last year after being given a number of projects to choose from. The projects available varied from studying space objects such as galaxies to looking at building a suitable bridge within the constraints of it being a well-used bridge and requiring easy passage below for canal boats. The students had a link engineer or a scientist to help them develop the necessary skills and experience of completing a project. There were so many teams that the projects had to be presented over two days. The standard of the project presentations were very high and the students demonstrated extensive understanding of the ideas beyond the curriculum. For example, Julia in Year 10 demonstrated excellent understanding and knowledge when asked about the issues in using 3 phase a.c. supply which she answered to nods of affirmation from the engineers of Tony Gee, a company that has been supporting the students in the engineering project. One particular group investigating cosmic rays impressed Dr McEllen greatly with their ingenuity in their data analysis. Along with Mark Gibson from the Cotswold astronomical society and Megan Jones, aeronautical engineer from Safran landing systems, these students were able to demonstrate a great deal of understanding of processing huge quantities of data. Joining Dr McEllen was Rose Teague an ex-student who studied Physics at University and is currently completing her PHD in Solar cells. Rose was also able to stay behind to give a presentation to students on her PHD.
The STEM project presentations were an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience for the future. The students will be finalising their project reports to be assessed for a BA Silver Crest award, a nationally recognised certificate. We are sure that some of the students will feel inspired to study a STEM subject at A-level.