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Curriculum focus CASE STUDY: CODE YOUR OWN GAME


at out teaching English and Maths,’ says Nick Corson, the creator of STEAM Co. Corston set up the charity which organises STEAM workshops in primary schools after seeing how much his own children got out of an arts event at a festival. ‘For us the aim of the scheme is not the arts per se, though it includes that, it’s art in all its forms. It’s about inspiring children through creativity. That might be storytelling, creating a computer game, doing a spin painting, sculpture or clay modelling.’ Nick himself has a master’s degree in Electronic


Engineering. ‘There is always going to be a place for academia and the academic aspect of STEM subjects,’ he says. ‘But there’s also a place for the creativity of problem solving; of coming up with new approaches and methodologies. If everybody just followed a linear route on those subjects we probably wouldn’t be making an awful lot of advances. So we’re targeting a primary audience to create engagement and spark an interest in the STEM subjects.’ STEAM Co days have another interesting outcome.


‘There’s a real collaboration on a STEAM Co day. Art connects us – we bring in parents and carers, secondary school students and people from local business. People are queuing up to help. What’s been amazing is the way we’ve brought a lot of dads in. We might need a stud wall knocking up and suddenly a bunch of dads will show up with their power drills!’ Suzie Young, who is the Family Partnership Coordinator


at the Spinney Primary School, as well as coordinator at the KITE Teaching School Alliance, Cambridge, recently put on a STEAM event. ‘For the last seven years I’ve organised a family learning festival with a week of activities in school for Spinney parents and children. But this year we decided to work with the KITE Teaching School alliance and make it bigger and more open and attractive to the Cambridge community.’ Activities on the day included inventing a machine, coding on a Raspberry Pi, rocket making, wood carving and a ukulele lesson. ‘STEAM Co provided six activities, and the rest were put on by us and a group we brought in called Bubbly Maths, who do workshops with bubbles and balloons.’ To nance the event Suzie applied for a grant from the


Skills Funding Agency. 30 extra helpers in the form of volunteer parents and carers made the day possible. What were the results at the end of this STEAM day?


‘People were really buzzing,’ says Suzie. ‘It’s hard to quantify the effect on the children, but from feedback we do know that the children are more into coding, a few of them asked for a ukulele or a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, and there’s a greater understanding of mathematics in nature. Overall they’ve all increased their understanding of how exciting STEAM subjects can be.’ In fact, the event went so well that Suzie is now planning a series of STEAM events for next year.


‘I teach at a special needs school for boys aged 5 to 19 with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties (SEMH). When looking for ICT workshops, I came across Chaos Created and thought this would be perfect for our pupils, especially as they are all very familiar with playing computer games! I contacted the Chaos Created team and explained in


detail what we needed. We discussed how the day would run and how best to engage our students. We agreed on two half-day workshops for Years 5, 6 and 7, where the children would learn the basics of coding, and then work on fixing a game called 'Pancake Panic' using the skills they had been taught. They would then create their own game, which would be uploaded onto the app store for them to play in the future. The morning workshop was held for the primary


students, while the afternoon session was for our Year 7 pupils. Both groups found it very engaging and look forward to transferring what they have learned to their ICT lessons. All students are continuing to play the game they


created, and they’re very good at it! I hope from this experience that they will consider game design as a possible career path. It was important to me that they see the process behind the games they play and use their imaginations to create a game themselves. The students told us that they enjoyed the


workshop. I am positive that they will continue to create and develop games of their own.’ Angelina Morello, Head of Faculty for Maths and ICT, Nightingale School, Tooting, London (87 pupils)


Chaos Created run half or full-day workshops to teach children about the basics of coding. Hour-long lessons and teacher training are also available. Prices start from £300 ex. VAT. Visit code.chaoscreated.com.


WERE IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IN 2013. DRAWING ON CREATIVE, ARTISTIC AND TECHNICAL SKILLS, THE CREATIVE SECTOR ACCOUNTED FOR ONE IN 12 UK JOBS*


2.62m FundEd SPRING 2016 19


UK JOBS


* FUTURE CULTURE REPORT BY WARWICK UNIVERSITY; DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ECONOMIC ESTIMATES (JANUARY 2015) STATISTICAL RELEASE


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