A fantastic new funding award from the Edina Trust will allow Forth Valley College Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Boxes, to be loaned out to primary schools across the Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire council area.
The College had been, since March this year, enhancing the winning formulas of schools in the Stirling area thanks to the Forth Valley College loan scheme supported by Stirling Council and sponsored by CityFibre and covering a three box range.
But now the new Edina Trust funding has allowed the team at FVC to create a range of eight STEM boxes, which are now available to be loaned out across the whole of the Forth Valley region. The boxes cover the subject areas of: Rocket Launch; Biological Systems and BBC Microbit Coding (CityFibre), Forces; Warm Houses; Clean Water; Green Energy; and Design and Build, and can be used for up to two weeks for P5-7 classes.
Each box contains materials to complete all activities with a class of 30 pupils and they come well equipped, though some everyday materials will be required from the school. To request a STEM box please email:firstname.lastname@example.org or book via the FVC landing page: https://famousfour.forthvalley.ac.uk/boxes.php
The project was developed on the back of the successful Stirling Science Festival which took place in October 2021 and saw families enjoy a hybrid programme of online and live events at the Albert Halls and the Tolbooth. The support of the FVC STEM and Construction Department Science Technicians – Amy Wylie, Paul Tucker and Tracy Crowley – who have given their full support to making the initiative a success.
Geraldine Marais Trust Secretary at the Edina Trust, said: “The Edina Trust is delighted to support this project. Our aim is to enhance primary science teaching by
funding science resources in schools around the UK, bringing science to life in the classroom. FVC’s STEM Box project does just that! It will allow pupils to get hands on, carrying out investigations across a wide range of topics covering real life contexts and issues. We hope the loan boxes will be well used and enthuse pupils’ ongoing interest in science.”
Fiona Jackson, Curriculum Manager in FVC’s Department of Engineering and Science, said: “We can’t thank the Edina Trust enough for funding our STEM Box initiative – we really appreciate their support to help us roll out our programme to the whole of Forth Valley. Once again our STEM Team are leading the way to help primary school teachers to nurture in their pupils a real interest in Science and Engineering subjects.”
Science Lecturer Kerstin Doig, who developed and led FVC’s outreach STEM workshop programme to schools over the last few years, said: “These STEM Boxes are packed full of engaging experiments and knowledge and we are confident they will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”
“We are so glad that the Edina Trust have stepped in to support our STEM Box initiative to help promote these subjects throughout the Forth Valley. We are confident the teachers of STEM subjects will reap the benefits of the STEM Box programme in the weeks and months to come.”
Pauline Jackson, FVC’s Development and Fundraising Manager, said: “The funding awarded from the Edina Trust is fantastic and will ensure young people across Forth Valley can access the STEM loan boxes. FVC has an excellent reputation in STEM outreach and engagement and this project enables that work to continue. The ultimate aim is to raise awareness and interest in STEM to the workforce of the future.”
Over the last three years, the Green Economy Fund has supported Forth Valley College to provide innovative STEM learning in schools across Forth Valley, Fife, West Lothian, and Edinburgh. The STEM sessions were moved online to ensure the innovative programme could continue despite the challenges of school closures during the pandemic.
The interactive sessions have included ‘STEM Pick N Mix’ (nursery to P7) and innovative ‘The Famous Four Save the Planet’ (P5 to P7), which tell the story of the ‘Famous Four’ characters who save the planet through STEM experiments and activities.
Fiona added: “The feedback from the pupils taking part was really positive and they loved that the sessions had a ‘green focus’ – for example, looking at renewable energy. Teachers and practitioners were also able to benefit from the funding through STEM training. These sessions were designed to raise awareness, build confidence and encourage more STEM activities in the classroom.”
The photo - taken by Zahra Sanii and Courteney Rennie – shows from left to right – Kerstin Doig, Paul Tucker, Tracy Crowley, Amy Wylie, and Fiona Jackson.