Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has partnered with MEPC Silverstone Park and ENovation Consulting to pilot a coding club for primary school children, designed to ignite a passion for STEAM subjects from a young age.
There is a recognised skills gap and need for higher numbers of young people to progress into STEAM-related industries (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics). Initiatives like this go a long way in motivating and educating young people on STEAM-related subjects and prove just how fun it can be! Introducing subjects like coding as an extra-curricular activity broadens young people’s horizons and opens the imaginations of all those who take part, adults included.
In the later half of 2019 ‘Full STEAM Ahead!’ coding club ran a successful pilot, running for eight weeks with two different schools and reaching almost 40 young people. The children reported that their favourite part of coding club was “Everything!” Following the success of this initial pilot a new school will be running a further pilot starting this month, with an aim to scale up further from September 2020. We are pleased that with growing success of these coding clubs come growing, and repeat, support from the Department for Education.
One week we did different size wheels and coded the car for off-roading and another week we used gears for speed control – Katie
Over the course of the term, 8-11 year-old children learnt how to code using LEGO Education’s ‘We do 2.0’ technology kits supported by Bluetooth connected iPads. Each week the club focused on a new topic and children used their newly gained knowledge of gears, speed or stability to overcome a unique challenge such as ‘off-roading’ or how to reach the highest speeds possible. Children built unique LEGO models and then compiled code to control their models’ movement, direction, colour or sound.
In the final session of December, students consolidated their knowledge from the term and were given freedom to design their own unique LEGO models, vehicles or moving structures. They showcased their artistic flair whilst also coding their models to move in a demonstration held at the end of the pilot. Parents joined to see the students showcase their models and knowledge, and to see the certificate presentation.
This week is the best because we have free reign to build anything so we’re making a cross between a frog and a dog-mobile – Frankie
As well as this being a highly successful, enjoyable and educational pilot for the children, feedback from parents and the school staff has been just as enthusiastic.
We are extremely thankful for the amazing volunteers who have led our coding club over the past eight weeks. Claire and Ross, our wonderful volunteers, delivered an exciting and highly enjoyable extra-curricular opportunity that was thoroughly enjoyed by all 18 children who took part. The sessions provided challenge, excitement and fun as the children built LEGO devices and controlled them using iPads. From the first to the final session, every child had a brilliant time and they were disappointed when it finally finished. We have also received some fantastic comments from parents who have expressed how much their children are enjoying this after school club. Silverstone CE Primary now have plenty more children eager to take part in a future coding club and I hope to access the resources so we can run our own coding club next term. – James Bloomfield, Headteacher
Hexagon is proud to continue work on this initiative, and other initiatives globally, to support the education of young people in cutting edge STEAM subjects. Read more about this innovative Full STEAM Ahead! pilot in one of our partner’s blogs here.
Read more about Hexagon’s continued work with people in education here.