David Rigmand shares the impact of his Partnership Grant project and explains how the project will develop virtually this year to involve other schools in the community
'The pupils developed a wealth of science capital and stimulated the beginning of a continually evolving project.'
A partnership made possible by the Royal Society's Partnership Grants scheme has led to innovative developments in STEM between a primary school and university. The school has been awarded several prestigious accolades including the STEM Nation Award from Education Scotland. Pupils have developed relevant skills for life and work whilst exploring positive future destinations in STEM careers. The project has positively tackled gender stereotypes as pupils have worked with, and learned from, a balanced mix of university students. The project has developed over time beyond the school in partnership with STEM ambassadors, local businesses and other schools across Renfrewshire.
The journey started with a renewable energy project in which a primary 6 class posed the question, 'Can we power classroom objects with renewable energy?' This was an incredibly unique partnership as a team of five masters students at Glasgow Caledonian University created a wind turbine with our school pupils as their final university project; an excellent opportunity to create links for the children to education and the world of work. The pupils developed a wealth of science capital and stimulated the beginning of a continually evolving project. This project was so successful that the Association for Science Education (ASE) selected the school to represent the UK at the European science festival, Science on Stage, held in Portugal in 2019.
Session 2020/21 – taking projects forward virtually
This year we have expanded the STEM partnership projects innovatively, working with Glasgow Caledonian University on virtual projects and bringing six other primary schools on board. Dr Patricia Munoz de Escalona (University partner) has requested that her students propose a project in which a problem must be solved, and a further requirement is that primary pupils support in the design process throughout. These projects will capture 350 pupils directly across Renfrewshire. Twelve students from Glasgow Caledonian University completing a combination of honours and masters degrees are exploring the design process as part of their final project with the support of primary school pupils. The schools and university engage regularly using Twitter to share project updates and STEM learning experiences. This allows the schools to showcase their projects and interact with the wider STEM community, including businesses and STEM ambassadors.