STEM programme for Cookstown pupils

ALMOST 400 Year 10 students from 13 schools in Dungannon and Cookstown had the opportunity to participate in a number of STEM Activity Days held in the South West College.

The STEM Centre was the first specially designed state-of-the-art teaching facility of its kind in Northern Ireland which focuses exclusively on delivering educational activities in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and features the latest in innovative learning technologies

Dungannon and Cookstown Business Education Partnership (BEP), in partnership with the STEM Centre, offered schools the chance to select from a number of STEM programmes which aimed to challenge students to apply STEM skills to exciting scenarios in a stylish learning environment, which included a 3D visualisation suite, touch screen television and 30 iPads pre-loaded with educational applications.

Mayor of Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council, Councillor Phelim Gildernew remarked: “As a Council we are delighted to support the Business Education Partnership programme which provides this marvellous opportunity for young people to gain practical insight into the use of science, technology, engineering and math and how the knowledge can be applied to real life situations.

“It is particularly apt as many of these young people are making decisions to study subjects which will be the foundation of their life time careers, they too are the future and a highly skilled population will be attractive to major investors ultimately benefitting regeneration.”

The “Directors Cut” Programme allowed students to be a director for the day, learning how, with the benefit of high-powered computers and low cost technology, directors of all ages can now quickly and easily make movie magic. Students were shown how to add breath-taking detailed backgrounds, special effects and create the illusion of movement – even in a still scene! In the “CSI: NI” Programme, a crime has just been committed and students are tasked to help solve the case and identify the person responsible. With training in forensic techniques, students conducted tests on the evidence gathered from the crime scene and applied real-life scientific know-how to evaluate the clues and crack the case.

The “Titanic” Programme guided students through almost one hundred years of science with the marine investigation team, exploring how technology, engineering and maths were used to create, sail and eventually discover the location of the luxury liner lost on its first and only voyage.

Councillor Tony Quinn, Cookstown District Council Chairman welcomed this new Programme, commenting: “Giving students the opportunity to visit this impressive facility with its excellent resources and expertise will undoubtedly stimulate their enthusiasm for science-based careers.

“Interactive programmes like these are extremely important as they get young people involved on a “hands-on” basis in the practical applications of science and they can see how it is deployed in everyday situations”.

The BEP would like to thank the staff at the STEM Centre for delivering the STEM Activity Days. The BEP is funded by Department of Education, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council and Cookstown District Council.