Words: Leanne Macdonald, Artswork’s School Liaison Manager for Kent
Motion is defined as ‘the action or process of moving or being moved’ and the Thanet STEAM network has been doing just that. Over the past term, the Network collaborated with local partners Turner Contemporary, Dreamland, GEEK Festival, Digital arts company Genetic Moo, Kent Dance Network and Canterbury Christ Church University, to create two days of motion-related STEAM activities, which took place on the 13th and 14th June 2017.
The workshops were split across two sites: Dreamland and the Turner Contemporary, with visiting primary schools spending half a day at each location. Each pupil had the chance to take part in two sessions at each venue, to explore motion as an overriding theme. Turner Contemporary hosted 3D printing and a ‘Dance and Forces’ workshop. Dreamland provided a ‘Rollercoasters and Forces tour’, and provided a huge hall to host a mini GEEK Festival, where students could explore a variety of activities based on creative coding and programming.
As a Lead School for the STEAM Network and Education Hub for CREATE Education, Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School used their staff and students’ expertise in Design and 3D Printing to lead a workshop for the primary school students. Their Year 8 students also worked with a STEM Ambassador from Canterbury Christ Church University on a ‘Build a Rollercoaster Challenge’.
“The 3D printing workshop was a brilliant success. Primary school students from local schools interacted with the studio, which included a 3D printed robot competition, 3D pen activities, and talks on the Ultimaker 3D printer. Thanks must go to CREATE Education for sponsorship and the stars of the show, the students, who were outstanding ambassadors for our school, the 3D printing community, and the local creative community.”
(Thomas Brewin, Lead Teacher and Head of Design and Technology, Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School)
Performers from the Kent Dance Network used Turner Contemporary’s Every Day is A New Day exhibition to explore sculpture, movement and physics. GEEK Festival activities included turning bananas into instruments using Makey Makey kits, and using marble runs to explore programming, whilst Genetic Moo and Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School Sixth Form students helped pupils to bring coding to life, collaborating on the creation of a film.
To add an extra special element to the day, the pupils also toured the recently re-opened Dreamland and met with the Head Engineer to explore how the historic scenic railway worked. Of course, exploring forces meant a few goes on some of the rides too!
So, what next? The good news: this is a network picking up speed – the next academic term will offer the chance for the schools to create STEAM resources for their classroom, identify some professional development opportunities and support their pupils through Arts Award.
To read more about the STEAM movement, head to page 16 of our first South East Schools Arts Paper for further details: http://www.artswork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Artswork-Schools-Newspaper-for-web.pdf