The Stem Initiative
STEM; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a major Government initiative throughout the UK. As part of the initiative in NI, the STEM Module; a fully equipped educational resource for STEM subjects, has been developed to support the promotion of these key subjects across the province.
The STEM Module is a mobile laboratory and workshop designed to bring high quality learning experiences in the STEM subjects to pupils in 17 STEM specialist schools and associated learning communities. This resource is funded by the Department of Education and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment; it is managed by the NEELB on behalf of the Education and Library Boards.
The Module helps to promote the increased uptake in Science and Technological subjects at post 16 levels and as a result promote careers in STEM related industries. This can be achieved by building partnerships with business and academic institutions, utilising the facilities of the Module to the maximum.
The main focus of the module is in bringing to pupils a sense of wonder and enjoyment in the study of these subjects and in doing so act as an incubation unit for new and exciting ideas
The aim of the project is that the STEM Module will provide a showcase for developing creative and innovative approaches to learning and teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The Goal of the STEM Module is to visit schools and deliver stimulating and challenging courses that will augment the curriculum in STEM subjects, providing incentives to pupils to develop their interest in and enthusiasm for these subjects.
Some of the courses developed to date are based on forensic science, biotechnology, data capture and sensing, CAD/CAM, 3D scanning, micro-routing and laser cutting. Pupils can gather and analyse evidence from "crime" scenes. They can compare finger prints and even compare DNA profiles!
Pupils can design and make model racing cars that can be tested on a racetrack against models constructed by pupils on a world wide basis. Using modern light microscopes with high resolution cameras pupils can investigate the fascinating world of cell life and microscopic structures or using a Scanning Electron microscope to study the fine details of insects and parasites.
Also teachers from the STEM Specialists schools will have the opportunity to design and deliver bespoke courses and events as a way of disseminating the wonder and awe of studying STEM subjects.