What makes a good club activity?
There are 7 main areas to consider when deciding what makes a good club activity.
Not necessarily curriculum based
STEM Clubs allow students to explore, investigate and discover the STEM subjects in a fun, stimulating learning environment away from the constraints of the school timetable. STEM Clubs may complement the curriculum by enriching, enhancing and extending it. However, they are not designed to be about writing, tests or exams. This is the opportunity to inspire students with the aspects of STEM that there is no time for in normal lessons.
Age appropriate but also stretching students experience
STEM Clubs should choose activities that are appropriate to the age and key stage of their members, whilst providing opportunities to stretch students’ experience of STEM. This may be an activity that starts out as a simple practical experiment, but can be extended to involve independent research, investigation, discussion and reflection. Alternatively, supporters such as STEM Ambassadors can provide a real-world aspect to an activity.
Range of ways to use the activity, i.e. one-off or more in depth project
One-off activities can be used as a make-and-take, at recruitment and launch events or scattered throughout longer projects to reinvigorate the club. Short projects can extend a classroom activity to allow for freer investigations or to enable club members to try something out before committing to a longer project. Longer projects can be really rewarding for committed club members by providing the opportunity to showcase them at fairs, enter competitions or work towards a CREST Award.
Use of all of the STEM subjects
STEM is not just an acronym! The combination of science, technology, engineering and maths can:
- provide scope for development of transferable skills
- remove artificial boundaries of traditional lessons
- provide awareness of wider options
- give STEM subjects more meaning and relevance
Hands-on activities are ideal
Students learn in a variety of ways and the freedom of a STEM Club allows for this. Using hands-on activities in a STEM Club can inspire, motivate and build confidence in students, particularly those who may struggle in the usual classroom learning techniques and environment. There is also huge scope for the development of transferable skills that students can carry forward into their future studies and careers, especially when involving supporters such as STEM Ambassadors.
Entering competitions can add value
Participating in competitions can provide STEM Club members with the recognition they deserve for their enthusiasm, dedication and hard work. However competitions can also be used to publicise a club amongst the school and local community. Supporters of a STEM Club can provide extra guidance when preparing for a competition or even be a judge! Checking if a STEM project is also eligible for a CREST Award can also add value.
To find out more about how you can showcase your STEM project, click here
Collaborate with a teacher/club leader to develop resources
Supporters working together with a club leader to develop activities and resources can result in something that is truly cross-curricular and relevant to the real-world whilst catering for the interests and abilities of the club members. Appreciate how fun and flexible a STEM Club can be by thinking outside-the-box when preparing activities. However, it is important to listen to club members, who will have some great ideas of their own, and to understand that not everyone enjoys the same things you do.