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 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) plays an integral role to pupils' education at Parkside; it is integrated throughout the curriculum at all years, as well as being a core focus for many inspiration and engagement events across the school. Parkside is strongly committed to inspiring pupils with regards to the world around them and the future role that they will play in exciting ventures and possibilities that might not be invented yet. Therefore, at the core of our STEM delivery is the desire to create fascination, engagement and aspiration within the STEM sector, giving our pupils the opportunities to be inspired to play an active and creative role, and to see the links between wider aspirations and their studies in school.

As a result of our commitment to STEM, we are happy to have created business links, provide inspiration days and to focus our pupils on their roles in society when they leave Parkside.

Year 5 Inspiration Day

On Tuesday 15th May, all Year 5 pupils took part in an inspiration day to launch their new Learning Journey topic titled ‘Come Over to Mayan Place’.

An outside Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) company came in to deliver a hands-on workshop which required extreme teamwork and listening skills to create a giant Mayan temple.

Children started by making a small triangle with only three sticks and three elastic bands. They then got into groups of 4, joining all of their triangles together. Following this, they made bi-pods and tri-pods, in varying sizes.  In addition, pupils made a square from 4 long sticks, using triangulation to strengthen the corners. Finally, the groups fastened their structures together, until they had made a huge Mayan Temple (measuring 6m squared and standing 4m high) whicheven included steps to the top. 

The pupils are truly inspired, as they begin their Mayan Learning Journey.


Faraday Challenge 2018

On Tuesday 30th January we hosted a Faraday Challenge Day at Parkside. It was run by the IET  and gave students the opportunity to research, design and make solutions to a genuinely tough engineering problem. This year there are a total of 154 Challenge Days held at schools throughout the UK.The Challenge Day involved six teams of 6 Year 8 pupils, and we invited four other local middle schools to take part. We also welcomed four representatives from Bosch, who are established engineers in different fields, and they were able to discuss engineering with the pupils. 

The students used their problem-solving skills and were creative in their designs. Each team produced a working prototype by the end of the day, and presented it to the judges. Their creativity was exceptional, and their presentations were excellent.

KS3 Trip to Catapult - Birmingham 2017

Just before Christmas, pupils from Parkside had the pleasure of visiting Energy Systems Catapult in Birmingham.

After running  a competition in school, to investigate energy usage within our pupils’ homes, the winners and a selection of Key Stage 3 pupils, were invited to visit the Catapult Innovation Facility. Whilst there, our pupils shared their winning presentations of energy usage with the Engineering team of Catapult.  They also were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops to inspire future inventors and to get them thinking about energy, innovation and invention.

The workshops had the desired effect as all pupils came away feeling inspired and enthusiastic about engineering and energy efficiency.  Many of the pupils particularly enjoyed writing on the wall at Catapult and looking at the different ways we document, record and investigate energy usage within our lives.


Wednesday 8th November 2017 - Tomorrow's Engineers Week - Key Stage 3

On Wednesday 8th November, as part of "Tomorrow's Engineers Week", KS3 had a visit from James Sopwith at ADI Total Engineered Solutions, to Parkside for an assembly to inspire pupils into the career path of engineering. The pupils were told about the different paths that they could take in order to become the next generation of engineers, including an apprenticeship route which they could take as part of their Options at the end of Year 8. Pupils found the assembly inspiring, with many commenting that they are interested in looking at engineering as an apprenticeship at the end of the assembly. We hope to offer more opportunities from ADI in the future for our pupils.

October 2017 - Malvern Festival of Innovation

Several of our Year 8 pupils went to the Malvern Festival of Innovation in October.  This was a day showcasing science, technology and entrepreneurship from around the region.  The pupils were able to take part in two workshops there.  One was run by the Catshill Partnership which enabled them to build and programme a model car.  The other was run by Raspberry Pi, which enabled the pupils to use computer programming.  The pupils also had the chance to talk to various exhibitors from scientific and technical organisations, and have a go at a variety of demonstrations.  They also watched a show on the exploration of space in a show-dome. The pupils had a fantastic day, and enjoyed all the different learning experiences.

Thursday 6th July 2017 - Enterprise challenge with Key Stage 3

As part of their inspiration curriculum, Key Stage Three took part in the One Pound Challenge from 4th-6th July 2017. Classes were set the challenge to take a single £1 investment from Mrs Terrey and use this to create a product for a market that would be held in school for our Key Stage Two pupils.

Pupils had two days to design their product, considering their strategy and the risks involved, create their product and then promote it, using a range of marketing and pitching activities. The event culminated in a market that was held in school. There were a wide range of innovative ideas on offer – from inventive ideas such as home-made stress balls, “Adopt a Pet Rock”, spa experiences and tarot readings , to more traditional stalls such as soak the pupil and guess the sweets.

Pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it provided them with an opportunity to realise their entrepreneurial talents and put their literacy and numeracy skills to practical use. The winning class will receive a reward during the last week of term, with the total profit for the event reaching £289.95. Well done Key Stage Three!


Whole School Design Competition - Spring 2017 

Before half term pupils competed in a whole school competition to design a city, vehicle or product for the future of energy saving. Here are a selection of photos of the fantastic designs created. The winning design was an inspirational energy saving ski resort.

The pupils whose designs were chosen were: 


Mystee Lyden 6SH
Maisy Davies 6SH
Eleanor Taylor 6SH

Runners up

Amelie Martin 6AY
Lotte Seagar 6KW
Jack Purshall and Olly Harper 6JD
Nathan Harber and Daniel Crowther 8ED
Isobel Edwards 8KN 

The winning poster will be framed and put on display in an energy saving company in Birmingham. The runners up and winners will enjoy a VIP trip to the company to see their artwork on display and experience the futuristic company's building and design features.


Year 5 & 6 Trip to Catapult - Birmingham 2016

In the Autumn Term, a selection of pupils from Years 5,6 and 8 had the opportunity to visit Catapult Energy Innovation Centre in Birmingham. The company had offered us a competition to create time capsules which would be included in their new building at Canon House. Our pupils had to capture elements of what life was like in 2016; the winning contributors were then invited to present their time capsules at the company.

The VIP trip to present the capsules included a personal tour around the centre, looking at some of the design features of the building which had been inspired by how Parkside school operates. We were shown new technologies that inventors use when they are creating energy efficient models, such as write-on walls and tables, and some of the new energy efficient technologies that the building uses.

Our links with Catapult will continue, as we have a meeting room named after our school there and a competition to create energy-inspired designs and artwork for our room.


The IET Faraday Challenge

This year Parkside Middle School hosted the IET Faraday Challenge Day in November.  The IET is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community.  The Challenge Days are held at schools throughout the UK and give students the opportunity to research, design and make solutions to engineering problems.

Parkside entered two teams in the challenge and both did exceptionally well each producing a working prototype by the end of the day and achieving very high scores.  Both teams exhibited excellent teamwork skills and delivered a outstanding presentations to the judges.  Well done to all who took part.

Faraday web

Friday 18th November : Year 8 Google Expeditions

On Friday, 18th November, Parkside welcomed a visit from Google with their Expeditions Pioneer Program.

The program enabled Year 8 pupils to visit the 7 New Wonders of the World, through a virtual reality experience. Each class had an opportunity to don the headsets and be taken to Petra, The Great Wall of China, the Coliseum in Rome and Machu Picchu (to name a few), all from the comfort of their classroom.

During their expedition, pupils were asked to consider the human geographical elements of the Wonder, culminating in some writing and art work based on the experience. Pupils shared their work on a virtual platform, with an online “blog board”. The experience was thoroughly enjoyed by all and led to further discussions regarding the future of using virtual reality in education.


Wednesday 16th November : Visit to the National Space Centre

Pupils took part in a programming workshop where they were able to program a Mars rover and complete different tasks. Later on, pupils attended a Planetarium Show where they experienced an amazing show all about Space. The rest of the day was spent exploring a wide variety of interactive hands-on galleries.


Friday 23rd September: Green Plan It Challenge

A small group of Year 8 pupils visited the Birmingham Botanic Gardens in September, to take part in a Green Plan It Challenge Project.
The project focuses on plants, people and places, and is designed to help pupils develop creative solutions to real issues. The pupils are working with a mentor from a local horticultural business (Webbs of Wychbold) to develop a plan for a Green Space.