Pupils discover science of rollercoasters with our STEM Grant

Published 10/11/2020
3 minutes Read

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?
The Hospital Education Service – which provides an education to those who are unable to attend school due to injuries, illnesses, or any other reason. It is a unique setting split across University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire; Whitmore Park Annexe; and home tuition to individuals. Its aim is to provide continuity in education when pupils miss school.

What’s it all about?
It’s an investigation into rollercoasters – from designing, testing and risk assessments, to research into energy, speed, acceleration, friction and gravity weight calculations. The aim is to teach students to use and think about science in a fun and interesting way; the project will end with students presenting their findings before they all go on a trip to a theme park to see the real-world science, first-hand.

The project will develop key areas within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), whilst also encouraging communication, key investigative skills and collaboration. These will all contribute to building self-esteem, with the intention of giving the pupils motivation to return to mainstream school and have faith in their own ability. It’s hoped that it will also encourage pupils to study science post-16.

Who will benefit?
Pupils at Whitmore Park Annexe – there are currently six students in the GCSE group and two in the pre-GCSE group.

What they said:
Debbie Glenn, Lead Science teacher, commented: “Whitmore Park Annexe, which the funding will directly benefit, is a small school that caters for pupils ages 11-17. These pupils are very vulnerable and have often had a negative experience of school and life.

“STEM is an area that I have been developing since joining the Hospital Education Service, with the aim to close the attainment gap of disadvantaged pupils. I try to link to what is of interest to the pupils to create engaging lessons, and this project is the ideal opportunity to demonstrate and apply the science being taught. Pupils can see the relevance of physics in everyday life, and that excites them!”

When’s it all happening?
There are three key stages to the project – exploration and investigation in the Autumn term; methodology, measurement and adapting rollercoasters linking to energy and forces in the Spring; the presentation of findings during the investigation, and finally a theme park visit in the Summer.

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on 30th November 2020. To apply for the Millennium Point Charitable Trust Small Grants programme 2021, visit: www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/grants/apply

Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on FacebookTwitterInstagram 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. 

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