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STEM empowers young people

Posted in School News

A dynamic new way of learning is to be introduced at The Buchan School.

The project, which has been made possible thanks to donations from the school’s community and a generous legacy from a parent of a former Buchan pupil, aims to help children develop skills from an early age based on teaching methods in line with STEM education, an integrated framework for teaching represented by Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The Buchan is working with UK education technology specialists JTRS (Just The Right Solution), which uses a range of LEGO® products to guide student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking, to roll out the scheme. The LEGO® Group has built kits and created modules to coincide with the STEM learning system, helping youngsters of all backgrounds to develop innovative mindsets with the ability to think creatively. The school will introduce this unique way of learning through the use of a specially-designed hub, the Buchan STEM Studio.

Buchan Head Janet Billingsley-Evans explained:

‘This is a hugely exciting initiative and a hands-on educational approach that actively involves pupils in their own learning process.

‘It very much complements traditional teaching methods and, rather than explore individual subjects in isolation, allows young people to develop an even wider skillset by working together, compromising, creating and problem-solving. It is also proven that this type of education makes learning more fun and keeps children engaged, as well as developing resilience and resourcefulness.

‘Ultimately, we hope the Studio will become a hub for the local community, bringing together schools, teachers, parents and companies to provide STEM education for pupils that will last a lifetime.’

While the Buchan STEM Studio is focused on supporting, science, technology, engineering and maths, it will also be integrated across other areas of the curriculum.

Mrs Billingsley-Evans believes the initiative will allow children to seek answers with their unbridled natural curiosity.

She said:

‘STEM recognises the intertwined nature of education. Young people are naturally curious and introducing the STEM principles through the creation of the Buchan STEM Studio, will allow for increased understanding, innovation and creativity. By encouraging them to collaborate on projects, we believe it will spark an interest and life-long love of the arts and sciences in our pupils from an early age and, ultimately, be relevant and connected to the real world.’

David Gregory, Head of Innovation for JTRS, spent seven years leading LEGO® Education in the UK before joining JTRS in 2018. Within this role, he supported hundreds of schools with the integration of LEGO Education resources into teaching and learning, and is now working with the Buchan to roll out the project for the first time in the Isle of Man.   

David, who is also a LEGO Education Academy Certified Teacher Trainer and a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY facilitator, explained:

‘One of the biggest challenges we face in schools is how we prepare our students for the rapidly changing, technological world of employment. The World Economic Forum state that 66% of students who are now entering into the education system, will eventually go into a job that doesn’t exist today. This presents a real challenge to schools who only employ a traditional style of learning.

‘By delivering learning through Maker Spaces and STEM learning studios, schools are providing the best opportunity to develop key 21st century skills such as; creativity, critical-thinking and problem solving. The STEM Studio at the Buchan will enable students to experiment, iterate and explore, through a hands-on learning experience.’

A Maker Space is a dedicated area where students can gather and use technology to work on ideas and products. The collaborative workspace for making, learning, exploring and sharing provides hands-on learning, helps with critical thinking skills and is designed to boost self-confidence.

Head of External Relations for King William’s College and The Buchan School, Kara Hughes-Jones, added:

‘Projects such as this would simply not be possible without the generosity of our community so we are grateful to receive such kind donations. We look forward to seeing our pupils continue to thrive and benefit from an initiative that will enhance their learning and help inspire tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.’