Young STEM Leaders

My P5/4 class (8-9 year olds) at Avoch Primary School in the Highlands of Scotland have recently completed their Level 2 of the Young STEM Leader Programme (YSLP). This Scottish Government-funded programme is led by SSERC and aims to develop young role models with an interest in STEM.

Young people have the chance to inspire, lead and mentor their peers through the creation and delivery of STEM activities, events and interactions within education establishments or local community groups.

There are 4 core elements to the programme, with log book, digital badges and a final certificate:

  1. Discover –  the importance and meaning of STEM e.g. my class talked to school visitors and relatives with careers involving STEM, challenging stereotypes.
  2. Inspire – children researched an inspirational person, group or event. My class did this for homework and then we discussed what made them inspirational and how we could be too.
  3. Create – plan a STEM activity, event or interaction. My class decided that they would like to mentor the P1 class. They research appropriate activities, voted on their favourite 3 activities (building O-winged gliders, absorption and growing gel crystals and an outdoor session looking at minibeasts). They carried out trial runs, practising what they would say and how they would structure activities into small steps – they felt very grown up and enjoyed thinking about how old and wise they had become.
  4. Lead – they led the joint sessions with the P1 children. It was lovely to see some of the shyer, quieter children coming out of their shell and confidently guiding the younger children through each session.

The children of both classes got a great deal out of it. It was lovely to see the confidence and enthusiasm with which my class mentored the P1s and the bond that developed between the 2 classes.

Much of the programme is geared to providing young people with the skills needed not only for STEM careers but the leadership, inspiration, creativity and flexibility will ensure that Scotland remains a great place to work in the future.

Cath Milne, Avoch Primary School, Highlands, Scotland