STEM Week 2023

21 March 2023

Last week, we celebrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at The Beacon to raise awareness of British Science Week 2023; a 10-day celebration of STEM, organised by the British Science Association, featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages.

Our boys enjoyed a variety of STEM activities throughout the week, including a collaboration with The Royal Masonic School for Girls, fun challenges and games in lessons, a special visit from a Maths Magician, a STEM Event hosted by Oundle School for parents and boys and to top it off… the rare opportunity of boys pi’ing their teachers in the Quad!

Math Magician Visit

We kicked off our STEM week activities with a special visitor to really get our boys in the spirit of Maths. A Maths Magician surprised our boys in Years 1, 2, 4 and 5 boys, engaging them with a Magic Show integrating a variety of Maths tricks. Years 4 and 5 also completed a fun session on puzzles and problem-solving.

Year 4 Maths Activity Lessons

Boys in Year 4 were set a range of challenges and learning opportunities in their Maths lessons throughout last week. They were put into groups to build bridges out of newspaper and sticky tape, with credit being awarded to the best looking bridge and also the strongest. Another challenge was to build the highest tower possible with spaghetti and marshmallows; this was surprisingly tricky (and sticky!), due to the weight of the big marshmallows. Other activities included investigating with weights and measures and solving challenging Maths problems.

Our Year 4 boys said:

“My favourite was the marshmallow towers and the bridge making. My team actually won the marshmallow tower” – Leo M

“We got to go in different classroom and learn with different teachers. The bridge building was really fun because we could be more creative in our Maths, and I liked the competition” – James M

“I liked how we created things and the challenges” – Ashton C

“When the teacher counted down to the end for building we all tried to rush to finish, it was exciting” – Ben D

Year 6 Royal Masonic School for Girls Collaboration

One of the highlights of the week was our inaugural STEM exchange collaboration with The Royal Masonic School for Girls (RMS). We were delighted to welcome a group of RMS girls to collaborate with our boys in their their lessons, as some of our boys set off to do the same at their school.

In an exciting Maths and Science integration, Year 6 Beacon boys and RMS girls looked closely at the structure of a sodium chloride (salt) crystal. They discussed in groups the cubic shape and how best to represent this as a 3D structure. It was fantastic to see how quickly they delegated jobs within their groups to successfully make five layers of sodium and chlorine atoms with bonding tubes. An amazing workshop to see how Maths and Science are integrated, especially when looking at chemical compounds. Some groups even moved on to demonstrate what sodium chloride looks like as a structure melting!

In ITC challenges, the two schools worked in pairs to create or edit existing code using Scratch software. The task was to display the findings from their science experiment, using animation.  The pupils were provided with a custom-made background and used block coding to either switch between sprite costumes to give the illusion of movement or to instruct the sprites to glid to set locations.  They worked incredibly well together, taking it turns and offering each other advice on how to solve the challenge.

At RMS, our boys had a lovely experience working with the girls to make periscopes, using them to decypher the semaphore to discover a hidden word. They coded the Crumbles to send a word using Pig Pen cypher. There were also outdoor team-building and problem-solving activities using the school’s Ricky Play equipment. The teams of girls and boys identified the word that was send via morse code and identified the word that was spelled phonetically backwards using an app to play it in reverse.

A fantastic collaboration between the schools, thoroughly enjoyed by all. We will look forward to collaborating with Royal Masonic School for Girls again.

Years 7 & 8 Pi Recital Challenge

Our Upper School boys were thrilled to take part in our Pi recital! The challenge was to recite as many digits of Pi as possible, with the reward  of Pi’ing their teachers! We had six finalists this year and had a Beacon record from David I who managed to recite 221 digits of Pi. Congratulations to the following

1st place – David I with 221 digits

2nd place – John R with 201 digits

3rd place – Kevin Z with 141 digits

4th place – Sachin V with 81 digits

5th place – Rory S with 67 digits

6th place – Shay N with 42 digits

Thank you to our teachers – Mr Davies, Ms Pater, Mr Langley, Mr Powell and Mrs Kaler – for stepping forward to be pi’ed! It was an experience the boys very much enjoyed!

STEM Event – Hosted By Oundle School

On Friday evening, our Beacon Community came to the school for a STEM Event hosted by Steve Adams from Oundle School. He talked our 100 attendees through the Earth’s Amazing Atmosphere and the great power and weight of air! The audience got to see and participate in a number of exciting experiments, looking at the real-life effects the weight of air can have on making a football curve or the ability to suck a liquid through a straw.

The event was fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed! Thank you to Steve Adams at Oundle School for organising it.

Take a look at the gallery of images below:

Early Years’ Stay & Play – Tuesday 21 May

We are delighted to welcome families with boys aged 2-4 to our Stay & Play sessions on Tuesday 21 May – click here to book.

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