STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

The students of James Hornsby are transformed into scientists of the future through the promotion of STEM. They have a multitude of experience, workshops and opportunities to develop their skills and understanding on a series of different aspects. There is a major shortage of students taking STEM based subjects at university and JHS wishes to give all students the opportunity to learn more about them, giving them a broader range of career paths in the future.

Earlier on within the school year, students decided that they wanted to learn more about Animals. Thanks to the Jack Petchey Award, we were able to start a Zoology club after school. Students have learnt about and interacted with some weird and wonderful animals such as hedgehogs, snakes, terrapins, rats, bearded dragons, geckos and rabbits to name a few. We were also lucky enough to get a visit from a vet, who informed students on what they needed to do to work within the industry. She also led the Zoology session and taught the students how to listen and calculate the heart rate on rabbits and cats, how to read x-rays and also diagnose some common illnesses. During Science Week with the focus of ‘change’, the Zoology club got to visit Colchester Zoo and completed workshops on climate change and learnt how it is having a direct impact on the populations of certain species. The students were able to interact with animals that we would not be able to bring into school!

For International Women’s Day, and in corporation with National Science Week, the year 10 girls had the fantastic opportunity of attending Google headquarters in London and had talks and workshops with members of Deepmind. The ladies were able to extend their understanding of STEM and broaden their ambitions.

Science Week has always been the best time of the year (forget Christmas!). Students in KS3 have learnt more about climate change and its affects. They have been utilising their engineering skills and developed models of flood defences for low income countries using only natural resources that would be available and cheap for the people that live there.

A second session included hurricane housing. The link between adverse weather and climate change is a real thing and students were tasked with designing and testing houses that could withstand a ‘hurricane’, again only utilising natural resources that would be available to locals. Lastly, the students were tasked with ‘cleaning’ dirty water. Using their science knowledge and skills, they tackled the everyday issue of ‘how to make water drinkable’. They evaluated their own ideas against those from MIT and the ‘life straw’.

The students thoroughly enjoyed their science lessons this week and said they learnt loads of ‘science’ but were shocked with the amount of science that is in use every day. It didn’t stop there! There was a college competition also. Students had to hunt around the school for images of scientists with QR codes. They needed to find the answers to questions relating to how that scientist had ‘changed’ the world we live in.

Students were also tasked with completing science based literacy competitions within the library and also be part of something bigger than the school! ‘Penguin Watch’ is an international research project whereby the public have been asked to turn images of penguins into real scientific data. This is looking at how climate change has affected the populations of different colonies of penguins. For all students who take part, their names will be published within the research paper in a real scientific journal.

Our dedicated STEM group of year 9 students also attended a ‘health day’ with 30 year 10 students who wish to work within the medical industry. The students were part of a mock up major road traffic collision whereby they learnt medical skills and performed emergency operations. They also experienced what it is like to live with dementia; thanks to new scientific technology the students were able to not only experience conditions but be part of an experiment whereby they will suggest ways in which the medical/care industry could help people with the condition. Operation Theatre Live visited JHS in December, the day was fantastic! The students were able to perform real heart transplants and learnt a whole host of medical techniques – this has helped inform them about the industry they wish to work in.

This is only a snapshot of what has happened this year! We have also had visits from the National Institute of Science, workshops, investigations, trips to FORD, Rocket competitions, Bloodhound competitions etc. There is much more planned for the next school year… so watch this space for the exciting opportunities and experiences we offer our students at JHS!