Science gives children a knowledge of the physics, chemistry and biology of their world but we aim to do more. We challenge our children to be scientists, to question, to experiment, to make and answer their own questions together.
When learning about digital technology, we focus on Computing – not simply teaching children to be ‘end users’ of digital tools but by learning about physical computing and coding, to take control of the tools themselves.
In Design Technology, children learn the skills of construction with a wide range of materials but we aim for more - for our children to be designers, inventing problems, creating solutions, engineering the three-dimensional world.
Arithmetical skills are essential in Maths but there can be more to Maths than this. At St John's College School we aim to develop mathematicians who can problem solve and pursue their own investigations and by doing so deepening their mathematical understanding.
How we teach STEM
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is an integrated approach to these curriculum areas that develops the children’s understanding and ability to apply their learning. Children complete STEM activities in every year group within the individual subject lessons (of Science, Design Technology, Computing and Maths) and at Senior House, as part of their annual STEM faculty afternoons.
In addition, the Form 2 children (Year 4) have a weekly timetabled STEM afternoon where they work in the Senior House Science and Computing Laboratories. In these sessions, the children tackle a range of projects with specialist teachers to guide them. Tasks such as the designing, building and testing of bridges (Form 2 STEM Bridges Project 2020) and researching, building and programming a lighthouse are presented to the children who must make design decisions and solve challenges using aspects of all four of the STEM disciplines.
This integrated curriculum approach not only gives children knowledge and it also gives them ‘agency’ – it develops them as active learners, who take responsibility for their own learning.