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STEM Clubs: running extra-curricular science at school

STEM Clubs: running extra-curricular science at school, resources
three learners working on a circuit in a lab

A STEM Club is any regular attendance of young people exploring STEM subjects through extra-curricular provision.

The club can focus on any or all STEM subjects and can include other subjects such as art, drama and geography etc.

STEM Clubs are a great way to support the curriculum and provide opportunities for young people to have fun, be creative and expand subject knowledge and awareness of the role these subjects have in the world around them.

They are also an opportunity to provide STEM enrichment and enhancement to young people in exciting and challenging ways. An active and thriving club utilises a wide variety of methods, aptitudes and skills to provide the best possible outcomes for its club members and for the club leaders.

Most importantly, they are fun and exciting and allow all involved to explore STEM subjects in an imaginative and inventive way! Some ideas for STEM Club activities focused around genomics could include:

  • Making your own DNA sequence bracelets from organisms including a human, chimpanzee, butterfly, carnivorous plant or flesh-eating bacteria
  • Recreate a human face using DNA and discover how DNA can provide clues to recreate the faces of people from the past.
  • Extract DNA from fruit with a hands on activity that will enable you to extract DNA from fruit, such as strawberries, using everyday household items.
  • Taking on the role of a genome researcher, looking at real cancer DNA datasets taken from cancer patients, to find areas of mutation in the BRAF gene
  • Use the Crest Superstar packs to carry out a range of DNA related activities with younger students

There are also longer term projects that students can engage with, many of which can be independently led by students themselves. For example in the UK, Crest Awards provide a nationally recognised scheme for student-led project work, with a range of associated activities and project ideas for a wide range of ages and abilities. Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs) also provide opportunity to explore areas of interest in more depth, with a long project, essay and presentation providing the focus on which to build skills and knowledge.

If you are unsure of how to start a STEM Club or are looking for potential funding, you can find plenty of advice at the STEM Learning website. Here you will find a variety of STEM Club resources including:

Do you have a STEM Club at your school or college? Which activities do you do and what would you like to develop further? If not, what will be your first steps in setting one up?

© Wellcome Connecting Science
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Genomics for Educators

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