Every year, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme gives out grants of up to £20,000 to support science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education projects in the West Midlands. Applications are now open for 2021.
Here is one of the many projects that the programme has funded in 2020.
Who’s running the project?
South Bromsgrove High School is a co-educational, secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
What’s it all about?
The initiative funded by the grant forms part of a much wider international project, based in The Netherlands, called HiSPARC.
It is a network of cosmic ray detectors situated in schools and universities that feed their data into a public database, allowing students to analyse it and carry out original research. They can start with a simple task, which might be looking at the variation between night and day or winter and summer, then progress to more complex investigations including identifying sources of the cosmic rays somewhere out there in space.
Atmospheric conditions are a factor in the number of cosmic rays hitting the detectors, so the automatic weather station which the grant will fund will extend the scope of the school’s investigations as well as those of other students in Britain and The Netherlands that use HiSPARC. In addition, each project completed can be submitted for a CREST Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold, depending on the level of challenge as certification for their contribution to scientific research.
The remainder of the grant will ensure that more staff at South Bromsgrove High School can also be trained to lead groups of students to help build capacity and expertise on this project.
Who will benefit?
At least a dozen students will be involved from Years 10 and 11. The aim is to keep the programme rolling so that over time more students will have the chance to learn about cosmic rays, the scientific process and handling data.
What they said:
Steve Clark, Career Lead and Assistant Head of Science, said: “This is a project that has really grown at South Bromsgrove High School. It started off as one student joining as part of a summer school run by the University of Birmingham and as it was relatively easy to join and accessible from any computer with internet access, we decided that it was worth pursuing. We first installed our own detector and now with the support from Millennium Point Charitable Trust the project will evolve into something even bigger and for generations to come.
“STEM subjects are a key component of the curriculum here. Our science department is very successful, having four students leave in 2020 to take up science subjects at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Space topics always stimulate interest and don’t have an inherent gender bias either, so we hope to encourage as many students to take part and look forward to unveiling our new weather station enhancing the project even further.”
When’s it all happening?
During 2021 but then ongoing.
About educational grant funding from Millennium Point
Educators, Charities and Not-for-Profits within the West Midlands Combined Authority can apply for up to £20,000 from Millennium Point to fund their STEM activity. For more information on how to access this funding please visit www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/grants
Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.