Project DIEM delivers STEM workshops
A student-led project is running workshops in local schools to inspire pupils to study science subjects.
The Engineering for Change student society has created Project DIEM which works with Edinburgh schools, from Buckstone Primary to Queensferry Primary, to put on fortnightly STEM workshops.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the project aims to help teachers and pupils make use of easily available materials to do experiments and support learning.
One example is the Friction workshop which took place a few weeks ago for a P2 class in Canal View Primary School. After a short introduction to the topic, the pupils were put into groups of four and given different materials to play with - tinfoil, plastic foil, newspaper and rubber bands. The teams had different kinds of races with blocks of wood wrapped up in various materials and then discussed what happened. Which blocks went fastest and won the race? Which material did the winning team use? Does that mean it has the most friction? Where is friction useful?
DIEM gives young people the chance to find out how interesting practical science can be, and how much fun it is. It also means that teachers don't have the task of planning and implementing these workshops - we just come in all ready to go. We’re proud to include inspiring women in our workshops to give young girls and boys alike the opportunity to see the things STEM subjects can empower them to do!
When the DIEM team is not in the community carrying out the schools outreach programme, they continue to develop their existing workshops - finding out what works in classrooms and looking for new ideas on how to get kids passionate about the different aspects of STEM subjects. Every workshop has a different main activity, depending on the age of the pupils and other topics include Structures, Cars, Friction, Power, Mirrors, Siphons, Pressure and Levers.
The visits are exciting for the children, and provide knowledge and experience. The most valuable aspect of the workshop is ‘the hands-on equipment, the discovery and active learning, the expertise and enthusiasm of the instructors’, according to a teacher from one of the local schools.
Project DIEM started in 2012 when a student project team visited Ghana with the aim of carrying out interactive workshops to inspire young people to become involved with STEM subjects. The project has always been based around making use of easy-to-find materials to make the workshops accessible to any teacher in any region of the world.
The project now has six workshops that get taken around the city. The next steps are to distil all these workshops into one simple universal manual so that they that can be easily delivered in schools by any teacher anywhere using basic and cheap materials.
The project team would also love to introduce more workshops on different topics and add them to the DIEM manual. The Engineering For Change team is ambitious and wants to support classrooms all over the world!
DIEM is currently looking for sponsorship to help get their manual published. If anyone would like to get involved or find out more about this, please contact the project using the email below.
Want to get involved?
If you are a teacher, parent or volunteer, or simply interested in this project, or would like to help, please jointhe DIEM facebook group to get all the latest updates on everything they do: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectDIEMe4c/
Email the team: firstname.lastname@example.org