So we finally were all able to come together and meet in person! Unfortunately, between Covid-19 cases and some waiting for PCR results we haven't all been together in a while but we got there in the end!
Firstly, I would like to outline why this project will be of benefit to our school community.
We work in a school that primarily has children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of our pupils come from homes where both parents are unemployed, financially unstable and have a negative outlook on school. We aim to develop every child on a holistic level and for a lot of our disadvantaged children, we, the teachers, are often the key to new experiences and opportunities that they would never get at home.
The school has a number of initiatives to aid these pupils such as free lunches, access to different sports and drama activities, homework club, 10 in a row (promotes being in school for 10 consecutive days and to move away from the pattern of missing days and early school leaving).These initiatives are fantastic, but we feel a Lego League will really benefit a large cohort of children.
There has been a big push on STEM in our school in the past year. My colleague, Catherine Troy (running the league for the older classes) is a STEM coordinator and she has done an amazing job at creating a plan in which we can incorporate STEM into our teaching. We have been amazed at the positive reaction the children have had towards it. They are thinking outside of the box and using skills and problem solving techniques that we just wouldn’t have drawn out from them through our regular teaching.
Because of this, I think the Lego League will really take things a step further. We haven’t had much experience with programming except for ‘Scratch’ on the iPads and it seemed to lack purpose for a lot of the pupils. The fact that Lego League will take a topic of relevance to the world around them and give them a focus to create a model, a moving aspect and proceed to present it will equip our children with invaluable skills and more importantly – experiences. As I mentioned, unemployment and a negative outlook on school coming from the home setting is instilled in a lot of our children’s minds. Initiatives like Lego League will give these children the taste of what it might like to be an engineer, or what it might like to be a programmer and it is here we feel we can make a difference to our pupil’s lives.
If granted, the seed funding will be placed in the school’s bank account and all receipts will be kept for both our principal and the Change X team. We have decided to choose a team from each class from 1st and 2nd (6 in total from both streams) and within those teams we will ensure our targeted children are included.
We will work together to plan what equipment we need to purchase. Today we said we think it would be sensible to buy over time and not all at once to see what equipment works well and what doesn’t/too much/need more of something. Our aim however, is to ensure there is an adequate set for each class so we don’t have to swap or rotate.
We have an excellent, whole school Covid plan that we have been following since September 2020. Our children sit in pods meaning they are with the same pupils each day from one term to the next. In order to be Covid compliant, we will ensure the teams are within the same pods to ensure they remain with their close contacts.