STEM DEN Innovation Event

Pupils from schools across Northern Ireland had spent months taking on the role of scientists and engineers, tackling real-life STEM issues in the area of Science and Technology. Now the time had come to put their ideas and inventions to the test!

CCEA's STEM Innovation event!

There was a nervous excitement amongst the pupils attending the CCEA STEM Innovation event at Riddell Hall, Queen's University on 23 May 2012.

Of all the schools who applied to take part in the STEM Innovation Project, ten were selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Teachers from Science and Technology and Design were then introduced to true concept of Innovation and the CCEA STEM Future learning resources.

They selected from the suite of resources and implemented it with their pupils. The resources set real-life scenarios inviting pupils to take on the role of scientists and engineers to tackle cutting edge STEM issues, such as disease prevention, nano-medicine and sustainable transport solutions.

The enquiry-rich resources promote practical and investigative opportunities to engage pupils. They highlight in a relevant way the practical application of STEM in the world of work. STEM Futures emphasise the importance and added value gained through meaningful engagement with employers. Pupils presented their work to industry representatives virtually using software available in all schools called 'Elluminate'. This aspect of the project was supported by C2K and Matrix NI.

What did the Dragons have to say?

From designing a sustainable public transport solution to inventing a device to alert patients to remember to take their medication, pupils had been very busy researching, planning and executing their STEM ideas.

Now they had to face a panel of prominent local business people – the STEM DEN Dragons!

- Linda Jamison, Collaborative Network Executive at Invest NI, was impressed by the confidence of the pupils presenting their ideas:

What was immediately evident was that these pupils knew what they were talking about and I couldn't help but be enthralled by their enthusiasm for their projects. These young people are our future STEM innovators, they will be the ones to drive our economy in the years to come. It is essential that industry engages with schools to bring greater relevance to learning in STEM subjects. It is obvious that this STEM project has enhanced the pupils' problem-solving skills, creativity and ICT ability. I have no doubt that we have ignited some entrepreneurial spirit here today!

- Richard Hanna, Director of Education Strategy at CCEA, talks about the purpose of STEM Innovation event:

CCEA wants to celebrate the excellent work of the ten schools involved in the STEM Innovation Project. As part of the project C2K and Matrix assisted us by bringing employers and schools together and training them on 'Elluminate', a virtual Classroom technology. This allowed students to engage with STEM industry experts, get insight into their industry and in turn be inspired to create their own sustainable STEM innovations. Today's STEM DEN was an extension of this work, bringing greater relevance to pupils' learning in STEM and giving them a real audience to showcase their work.

Who where the Dragons?

David Barnett - Project Leader at Wright Bus

Linda Jamison - Collaborative Network Executive at Invest NI

Estelle Lowry - PhD student at Queen's University Belfast

Richard Hanna - Director of Education Strategy at CCEA

What schools took part?

Belfast Model School for Girls - 'Next Stop Safety' (a sustainable transport solution)

St Catherine's College, Armagh - 'Straight to the Heart of It' (nano-technology) & 'Next Stop safety'

St Mark's High School, Newry - Heart Matters(disease prevention)

St Mary's High School, Lurgan – Heart Matters

St Patrick's College, Maghera - Cancer - Control and Combat

St Pius X College, Co. L'Derry – Heart Matters

St Comhghall's College, Co. Fermanagh – Heart Matters

Methodist College, Belfast – Cancer – Control and Combat

Areas of Learning

Technology and Design
Learning for Life and Work
The World Around Us