A programme aimed at developing children’s STEM skills in Scotland allows primary pupils to become teachers.
More than 22 schools in Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland are taking part in the STEM Champs programme, which is run by Aberdeen Science Centre and the Raising Aspiration in Science Education (RAiSE) programme.
The programme will see children ranging from primary five to seven develop STEM learning experiences for pre-school and primary one and two pupils in a bid to secure awards.
STEM Champs was developed from the Science Champs programme, created through a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Science Centre in 2012.
The RAiSE programme aims to improve the teaching of science-based subjects across Scotland. It is delivered and funded by The Wood Foundation, Education Scotland, the Scottish Government and a number of participating local authorities.
Gayle Duffus, National Education Officer at RAiSE, commented: “Putting the power into the hands of the upper primary pupils is a really impactful way for them to not only learn about STEM but to develop an array of skills including leadership, communication and organisation.”
“It is also very engaging for the younger children,” Duffus added.
In total, more than 750 pupils will take part in the STEM Champs pilot. If the programme proves to be a success, it could be introduced nationwide, the organisation said.
Lessons can be bespoke depending on in-house learning capabilities or from a prepared STEM Champs resource. Older pupils participating in the programme will receive training from Aberdeen Science Centre and work towards Discovery or Challenger awards.
Dr Kim Aplin, Headteacher at Cairney Primary School in Aberdeenshire said: “The children at both ends of the school have really embraced this experience. As well as being a lot of fun, it has really cemented their STEM learning and increased their confidence.”
Liz Hodge, Chief Executive at Aberdeen Science Centre, added: “We were delighted to work with schools in Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland who took part in the STEM Champs programme run by RAiSE.
“This gave the ASC the opportunity to support pupils to inspire and enthuse younger pupils in their school with engaging, fun STEM activities whilst helping them to develop their own leadership, planning and communication skills.”