Courtmoor day1 2021 154

STEM

Court Moor has always been active in supporting the technical strengths of our students. STEM is a nationwide initiative to get more young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To support this and recognising the importance of these fields to our students, parents and the wider community, Court Moor has a specialist STEM co-ordinator, in order to maximise the opportunities available for our students and add in some joined up thinking.

At its core, STEM is a teaching philosophy that integrates all four disciplines together into a single, cross-disciplinary program which offers instruction in real-world (as opposed to purely academic) applications and teaching methods.

So what does this mean for students at Court Moor?

Our GCSE results for Science (including the Separate Sciences), Design Technology, Engineering and Maths are excellent; each year our students perform significantly above the national picture for this suite of subjects and follow on to study at post 16 and in Higher Education settings in these fields.

In keeping with the Court Moor philosophy of offering a wider variety of curriculum experiences than is seen in many schools, we offer GCSE Astronomy and the new ‘Global Studies’ Year 8 course included units of work prepared by the Science teachers on:

  • global health
  • the global environment
  • beyond the globe
  • natural science

We also offer a selection of extra-curricular clubs and opportunities for students (and teachers) to widen and develop their interests and experiences of STEM. Here is a flavour of what we have offered during 2020 and 2021.

  • The Science Department run a fortnightly Science Club for students in Year 7 and 8. They have learnt about the chemical requirements for dying clothing and made their own tie-dyed t-shirts.
  • As part of their activities in the Autumn of 2020, this group of students represented the school in a BPS competition where they designed devices which were aimed at improving people’s health.
  • Court Moor School Eco Committee have developed an Eco policy along with plans for the school to raise awareness for all stakeholders on environmental issues directly impacting on the school site and activities. Ensuring our school pond is healthy for plants and wildlife, along with enhancing the ‘green’ areas of the school are examples of actions undertaken since the start of 2020.
  • Each year the Science Department run a ‘Science Fair’ for Key Stage 3 students to undertake research, design and investigative work on an area of personal scientific interest. In 2020 students completed their projects during lockdown, with the added challenge of presenting their work as videos. Rachel Wells built and tested her very own Van der Graaf generator from scratch and was a very well deserved winner of the competition.
  • Each summer during Activities Week, the Science Department run a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) day for students in Year 7 and in 2021 we ran the event for both Year 7 and Year 8 to ensure no one has missed out! Students spend the day investigating events which took place at the fictional Jenkins Manor to provide the scientific evidence to prove who carried out the murder of Mr Grove. Undertaking chromatography, identifying metal ions using flame tests, carrying out pH tests on soil samples and identifying the blood groups provided the evidence to ensure the murderer was correctly identified.
  • As a school, we look to take part in events run by STEM organisations. Some recent examples include the:

     ‘Defend the Skin Competition’. The competition, run by the Systems Immunology Group and sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, required the creation of a game to illustrate the workings of the skin’s immune system.
  • Ashley Rees STEM Day for Girls. In June, a group of Year 9 students took part in the Fluor ‘STEM event for girls’. As with many aspects of the last 18 months, this took place via zoom, with the materials (and food!) being delivered for students in many local schools to use to design, build and use a device for transferring a table tennis ball. The organisers arranged for established female engineers and scientists to speak with the students about their own academic and professional experiences as well as acting as on-line advisers during the construction process. Well done to the Court Moor team who finished second in the competitive element of the day with their design.
  • At the end of June some of our Year 10 GCSE Design and Technology students took part in the BAE Systems Virtual Challenge 2021.  This involved a week of after school sessions, where they designed, built and tested a robot capable of housing and transporting a rare bird's egg, over rough terrain.  Camouflage was part of the brief and The FireQuackers took that very seriously! Although not the overall winners, the FireQuackers were commended for their presentation, which was informative, inclusive and confidently presented."