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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre & STEM Ambassadors's online course, Inspiring Young People in STEM: Planning and Organising Practical Activities. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second [Glyn] I think design technology, in any sort of provision, is one of those subjects that’s really rich. Because I think it satisfies a really human need, which is making stuff. So you don’t ever have a winner really, in terms of engaging kids, most children would be really engaged by the idea of making something. It’s that side of it that really appeals to me, seeing them actually design something themself and then make a finished product. Which I think is an incredibly rewarding experience for any child, especially the one that’s got some sort of special need. Make sure the lesson’s fun because at the end of the day, if they don’t enjoy being in the room, then they’re not gonna engage.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds So I always try and inject a bit of humor in, I like to think so. They might tell you differently. But that’s really important, I think, is to make sure that they have a fun lesson. [Jude] My favorite subjects are science, maths, and English. I love using my numbers. [Tom] There’s many different ways we use resources to do the maths lesson. If we talk about addition, we can use anything to practically show how we might add. One of the ways that I like to do it is with either Lego or with Unifix blocks, and we can do it taking it right down back to its basics. So three add three, I have three blocks here, three blocks here.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds We asked the students to count each block so they’re having that one to one correspondence of their actual counting. Put the three here together with the three here and they’ll see that their total is six. And that can be applied to most calculation strategies so we’re looking at repeated addition, which is multiplication. So we’d have three add three add three is three times three. Or likewise, if we’re doing division, we might have a set of nine and ask the students to break the bricks into three different groups and we find that using practical resources like that, really helps our learners. Those hands on techniques are really, really useful. [Daniel] The Coke and Mentos.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 seconds You get a bottle of Coke and then put Mentos in and then it makes a big explosion.

Experiences from educators and young people

Throughout the course, we will be referring to teachers, educators or group leaders.

These terms encompass the range of people and organisations you may collaborate with in your capacity as a volunteer. This includes teachers in schools and colleges, uniform group leaders (Scouts, Girl Guides, etc.), outreach officers from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), youth workers from the third sector, education officers in museums and galleries, and science festival public engagement coordinators.

In the video above we asked educators and young people in a secondary school, in this case a special educational setting for students with moderate and severe learning difficulties, for their thoughts on what makes engaging and inspiring activities.


Using the ideas from the video and your own experiences, we would like you to come up with a list of what makes an activity engaging and inspiring. In the comments below, post your top three ideas.

Take a look at what other learners have posted and ‘like’ their suggestions if you agree with them. We’ll compile a list of the best suggestions to include in future courses.

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This video is from the free online course:

Inspiring Young People in STEM: Planning and Organising Practical Activities

National STEM Learning Centre