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#ASEchat 111 How to build a STEM club from scratch

#ASEchat 111 ‘How to build a STEM club’ from scratch? 29th July 2013 with Science Teacher, Rhys Baker @TFScientist

This #ASEchat posed four questions. There is a complete resource list at the bottom of the page. 

Q1. What policies/procedures/resources/people do you need in place before you advertise your club?

Key points:

Ÿ   Start small and invitation only – any more than 10 could lead to behaviour difficulties;

Ÿ  Differentiate group roles to prevent behaviour issues/boredom;

Ÿ  Start short – 30-40mins;

Ÿ  Start with a bang – food explosions, kites, robots;

Ÿ  Start with KS3 – KS4 can be focussed on exams and prior commitments;

Ÿ  Contact Stem Ambassadors and local STEM co-ordinator;

Ÿ  Clear everything with site staff, HoD and SMT. 

Q2. How do you raise interest in your STEM club? How would you raise interest outside of school?

Key Points:

Ÿ  Enter competitions! Find via societies or listed on;


Ÿ  Provide special lab coats, badges, certificates in assemblies;

Ÿ  Have STEM award assemblies/evenings and presentations by students and external speakers;

Ÿ  Keep exclusive but advertise in blogs, newsletters, posters, assemblies, form groups what you are doing;

Ÿ  A successful run with National Science and Engineering week (with associated demos, assemblies and themed lessons) usually sparks a lot of interest.

 Q3. How do you fund/stock/resource a great STEM club?

Key Points:

Ÿ  SMT MUST be on board;

Ÿ  Success breeds success;

Ÿ  Loads of websites with projects or resources (See below for extensive list);

Ÿ  Be creative – things people throw away can be used: bottle rockets, CD hovercraft, bath fizzers, whirly-gig-helicopters;

Ÿ  Use parents with STEM related jobs to generate interest/set challenges;

Ÿ  See (and promote) STEM club as an investment in the engagement of students, and as part of careers advice. Make this clear to SMT.

Ÿ  Collaborate with local businesses, media, hospitals, schools, universities for prizes, funding, challenges. Could be in exchange for advertising in school (as long as is ethical) media coverage or as part of their community outreach and engagement programmes. Many STEM businesses would be very pleased to get involved in sponsorship – could have their logos on your lab coats?

Ÿ  Awards and prizes can make club self-sustaining – so enter competitions! 

Q4. How do you measure the impact of your STEM club?

Key Points:

Ÿ   Set clear and measurable goals and objectives

  • Attendance
  • Grades improving
  • % moving into KS5 or STEM Uni subjects/careers 

TOPTIPS: What is your best piece of advice for starting a STEM club?

Ÿ  @hrogerson – keep students involved by having an end point, e.g. film, crest award, presentation

Ÿ  @RedmoorStem – run the club in a lunch before or after non-contact time. Ask the kids what they want. Plan a timetable and review

Ÿ  @Ivette_Negrete – CREST: An easy jumpstart for your STEM club (minimal commitment needed – just 10 hrs)

Ÿ  @TMBSScience – Set up Science Ambassadors to elevate status of pupils willing to help run STEM clubs for younger years (they talk to the press)

Ÿ  @ClareCNelson – Use stem ambassadors. They can come into school to help/demonstrate/talk to students etc.

Useful Websites


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RSC Grants - Public Activities Small Grants Scheme & Education Initiatives Fund



Royal Society Education Grants (Opens 2/09/13 - 1/11/13)



Young Engineers – club grants



IoP Grants



RSC Outreach Resources



Contact STEM Co-ordinator for area



STEM First



National STEM Centre e library. Engineering a Better World



Science and Plants for Schools



School Science – also a great source of competitions



Primary Engineer – good for transition/primary STEM



Nrich – STEM resources (maths)



ScienceMuseuminvestigations and activities



IoP STEM Club Resources






Crest Award – start with bronze or Crest Discovery (launches Sept)





Exoplanet Physics Project – available to IoP Partner schools Yr 9 only




Nuffield STEM Projects 11-14



Dyson Engineering Challenges



Engineering Education Scheme – post 16



Young Engineers – join for free then click ‘competitions listing’ on left



Extended Project Qualification – National STEM centre



Biology Week Projects - 12th - 18th October 2013



Go4Set – costs involved in entering