Scotland's STEM Strategy
13 Feb 2019
Recently the Scottish Government published the first Annual Report on its five year STEM strategy for education and training in Scotland.
The Scottish Funding Council is proud to support Scotland’s colleges in playing a central role in the delivery of this strategy, and the STEM hub network of colleges, universities and employers working with primary and secondary schools on more joint learning opportunities – an initiative targeting all four of the strategy’s key challenges for STEM education and training in Scotland.
The following case studies highlight examples of this work, specifically around the work of the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP), a collaboration of Scotland’s regional colleges. ESP’s aim is to increase the capacity and capability to identify that the right skills are being delivered at the right time to meet industry’s demand. Through this consortium approach, ESP aims to prevent duplication of effort and investment for the energy, engineering and construction sectors.
Dumfries & Galloway First in Scotland with FIRST Lego League Junior
More than 50 primary pupils from across Dumfries & Galloway completed the IET’s First Lego League Jr challenge and attended an Expo at Dumfries & Galloway College.
This is the first time the challenge has taken place in Scotland. The children, were tasked with creating models based on a real life problem.
Each of the schools brought their finished work to Dumfries & Galloway College to showcase their models before enjoying a tour of the college’s engineering department.
The event was organised by ESP and the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme, alongside the Dumfries and Galloway College and participating schools.
FIRST Lego League Junior is a non-competitive challenge designed to introduce STEM concepts to children ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love − LEGO. Teams of up to 6 members explore a real-world scientific problem such as food safety, recycling and energy. They create a Show Me poster that introduces their team and describes their learning journey. They construct a motorized model of what they learned using LEGO elements and LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits. In the process, teams not only learn about science and technology, but also build their teamwork and communication skills. The challenge places a strong emphasis on the FIRST Core Values, which include respect, sharing, and critical thinking.
RAiSE Teacher in Dumfries & Galloway Carol Moyes said:
“Inspiring young people to enjoy STEM education is vitally important in engaging a lifelong affinity for the subjects. The Lego challenge may seem like fun play but the lessons run far deeper in terms of project management, developing an eye for detail and critical enquiry.”
Alice Cochrane, Head Teacher at Caerlaverock Primary, added:
“This was a fantastic project - we all learned a lot and enjoyed the process.”
Rachel Tulloch, Project Support Manager Engineering at ESP, said:
“ESP works on behalf of Scotland’s colleges to promote energy, engineering and construction sectors and promoting working with member colleges and key partners across Scotland to promote the STEM agenda. One of our aims is to work with partners to promote these STEM sectors as careers of choice and develop seamless pathways through schools to college to university. At ESP we feel First Lego League and First Lego League Jr provide an excellent opportunity for children to develop the skills needed for these jobs of the future and to develop a flexible, project-based approach to learning.”
Big Bang Scotland Fair 2018
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) was the focus of the Big Bang Scotland Fair held at Perth College UHI on 12 June 2018.
Hosted as an opportunity to inspire pupils from schools across Scotland to consider a career in STEM related roles, the Big Bang Fair brings STEM subjects to life with engaging interactive activities related to current jobs such as virtual welding, thermal imaging cameras and virtual reality working at heights training.
Attended by over 1300 school pupils from schools across Scotland it provided the opportunity for those attending to participate in interactive activities, meet Careers Champions, attend inspirational talks and to be inspired through having fun.
Run in partnership with EngineeringUK’s Tomorrow’s Engineers initiative, the Big Band Fair also brought together over 60 exhibitors from industry and colleges along with 13 inspirational speakers from industry partners.
Additionally, the event hosted Tomorrow’s Engineers Lego Robotics Challenge Scottish final and the Bloodhound Scotland Rocket Car Challenge final.
Jim Brown, Director of ESP, said:
“The Big Bang Scotland Fair builds on the regional events and truly inspires school pupils to consider STEM choices at school and STEM careers. Linking schools with industry is key to securing the future workforce and this is just one of our suite of interventions that support Scottish Government’s STEM Strategy."
Margaret Cook Perth College UHI, Principal said:
“I was delighted to welcome the Big Bang Scotland to Perth College UHI. This is an extremely important agenda and it is great to see so many school pupils engaged in such a range of innovative activities which will inspire them to consider STEM choices going forward.”