The STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) after-school club has been carrying out science experiments including igniting methane bubbles, testing chocolate and launching rockets. The club, which meets every Tuesday, is open to students from all year groups. It features hands-on activities not normally seen in the classroom, plus there has also been friendly competition against other Trust secondary schools.
Miss Reynolds, who runs the club, said: ‘Each week we do something different. We have just looked at bubbles and investigated mixtures of solutions in order to make the biggest and best ones. Their strength depends on the glycerine content of the bubble mixture. Another experiment was when we filled bubbles with methane gas and the students scooped them up and we set them alight in their hands. It was safe but very dramatic!’
One Easter-themed project looked at the melting points of white, milk and dark chocolate. Miss Reynolds said: ‘This varies depending on the fat content and cocoa solids. White chocolate melted the quickest and the dark chocolate had the highest melting point so students did research and came up with two different tests. One way was to put chocolate in tubes and immerse them in boiling water but a more popular method was to see how long it took the chocolate to melt on their tongues.
‘We have done a range of topics including constructing water and match box rockets and making paper boats and experimenting to see how much load they could take. We have also carried out dissections on fish, pigs’ trotters and hearts. The students also constructed their own marble runs and competed with others from Corby Technical School and Corby Business Academy and Thomas Clarkson Academy to see whose would carry the marble for the longest continuous time.
‘The club, which runs from 16:15 to 17:00 on Tuesdays in Brunel, is open to all year groups although there tends to be a core of four or five students that always attend. If there are things the students want to investigate that we can’t do in class I am also open to suggestions.
‘STEM is a very important part of the curriculum and we are developing a unit for Year 8 students to raise their awareness of how these subjects can impact everyday life and the careers they can lead to. STEM ambassadors have also visited to talk about careers and university placements and the RAF are coming into the science department soon to give talks on STEM and career related issues.’