What is the Belcan STEM Outreach Programme?
This year the Belcan Marine Design Team from Belcan Glasgow, UK/ Nevis House launched a STEM Outreach Programme working with local primary schools (ages 5-11), offering fun activities to encourage excitement about STEM subjects, with an ever so slight bias slant on Marine!
The Programme So Far
Research has shown that children start making choices that will affect their career decisions from the age of 7, therefore, it is crucial to ensure that engineering is introduced to them and incorporated into their education at a young age.
Belcan’s STEM Outreach Programme is registered with the UK STEM Ambassador Hub, which allows the programme to target schools within the area, ensuring that Belcan gives back to the local community. The programme seeks to be embedded with the school teaching curriculum to drive the best learning outcomes, and as such the team is in regular contact with teachers in order to align each session with the students’ current studies.
So far in 2023, the Belcan team has taken part in eight events in the Hamilton, East Kilbride and Blantyre areas, including the ‘Upskill and Engage Primary Programme’ – the largest STEM ambassador programme to date, which consisted of running three consecutive events with the same class to create sustained and meaningful engagements.
Consistent with the Marine Industry focus, the most popular activity has been the ‘Whatever Floats your Boat’ challenge, in which the children design and build a small (floating!) boat, using a limited amount of paper cups and straws, which can carry as many small weights as possible. This activity teaches the children about stability, buoyancy, problem solving and teamwork. All the children found this an exciting challenge, as they enjoyed seeing their own ideas transformed into real-life designs which they then tested in a water tank. Not to mention a little bit of fun competition to see which designs managed to hold the most weight!
Some teacher feedback we received after this challenge:
- “The children loved the practical activities and making boats and testing them out.”
- “Your support and expertise was much appreciated.”
- “Thank you for helping us make our ‘Developing Young Workforce Week’ such a success.”
Other activities the Belcan STEM Outreach Programme have run include:
- Interactive Demonstrations, great for younger primary ages
- ‘Does it Float?’ – Learn about making predictions and the buoyancy of materials
- ‘Rainbow of Colours’ – Learn about the functional uses of colours and the theory behind mixing colours
- Presentation & Activity Sessions, adaptable to any primary age group
- ‘Whatever Floats Your Boat’ – Learn about stability, buoyance, problem solving and teamwork
- ‘Wonderful Wind Challenge’ – Learn about sources of renewable energy
The Belcan STEM Outreach Programme intends to expand by enlisting more Belcan employees to become STEM Ambassadors and establishing a more defined programme that involves Belcan reaching out to local schools to offer a variety of consecutive sessions. This will allow Belcan to create more meaningful and impactful relationships with the local community.
Another programme goal is to target social mobility hot spots. These are areas that do not have as much resource or funding as other areas, and as such tend to miss out on opportunities that could benefit their learning experience.
The Belcan STEM Outreach Programme aims to give all children within the local community equal opportunities and experiences by offering fun and interactive STEM-based sessions.