ASE Cymru Conference - Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales

Over 90 delegates attended 'STEM and the New Curriculum' conference at St Fagan's National History Museum on 13 October despite the ferocious weather. A partnership event between the ASE Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales.

The keynote session featured a useful and informative panel discussion on preparations for the new Curriculum in Wales. The panel included Tom Crick, Chair of National Network for Excellence in Science & Technology; Sue Quirk, Education through Regional Working; Andrew Jones, Ysgol Glan y Mor; Elaine Stockdale, Tongwynlais Primary School and Sharon Pascoe, Fochriw Primary School.
The discussion received very positive feedback including:
“Very interesting workshops and new ideas for teaching the new curriculum”
“Engaging speakers with excellent ideas for practical work”
“Really impressed by National Museum’s Resources”

Teachers were then provided with an opportunity to attend breakout sessions to allow in-depth discussions focusing on primary, secondary and sector-wide STEM learning.

This was followed by lunch and an opportunity to visit the exhibition area, where there were displays by Data Harvest, Hodder, Timstar, Gratnells and the Royal Society, together with other local exhibitors.

Hands on workshops in the afternoon were very popular and provided teachers with lots of ideas and resources for the classroom. The plastics workshop by Lewis Brown, National Marine Aquarium Association, involved participants becoming part of an ocean food web. Glen Gilchrist, Consortium South Central, lead a popular workshop about the role of Practical work in science lessons which provided food for thought. Other participants enjoyed the creative chemistry of 'Let's Explore' with Dayna Mason from the Royal Society of Chemistry. A coding workshop with Andy Harper, University of South Wales, provided opportunities to learn how to code robots. Heather Jackson, National Museum Cardiff, and Debbie Syrop, Cardiff University School of Engineering, led a practical session on how schools can plan a mission to Mars. Finally, participants braved the weather with Ieuan Donovan, St Fagans National History Museum, and explored how to use scientific surveys in a creative way.

The new Atrium building at St Fagans National Museum of History provided an excellent space for the creative and informative discussions and workshops that helped make this year's conference a success. 

Teen Tech City of the Future at Ysgol Islwyn, Blackwood

Over 200 students from 7 Primary schools shared their ideas for the TeenTech City of Tomorrow in the first 2018 showcase day for young people in SE Wales.
The project invites students to apply bold thinking to creating the ‘kinder, safer and smarter’ world they would like to live in whilst surfacing some of the ‘invisible’ jobs which these young people will be doing in the future.

Young people are inspired to consider careers they may not have realized existed and given the confidence to believe that they can shape the future.

TeenTech provide schools with inspiring resources to lead the project which is designed to
be versatile so schools can run it independently or form a ‘cluster’ where secondaryschools acting as the hub co-ordinator for feeder primary schools.

Year 7 students from Islwyn High School worked with younger student in 7 primaries,
(Cwmfelinfach, Rhiw Sir Dafydd, Bryn, Penllwyn , Pontllanfraith, Trinant, Ynysddu) to
produce 64 buildings which re-imagined everything from the future home to the future
transport hub, the future entertainment centre to the future hospital. All buildings have to
be made from recycled materials.

The showcase day hosted by Islwyn provided an opportunity for the young people to meet
judges from across industry who provided feedback on their models and for them to
progress ideas for the internet of things by participating in a TeenTech workshop led by a
game designer. CEO TeenTech and former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin who hosted the day said, “It was great to hear feedback from students and teachers on how much students (and teachers) enjoyed the project. It’s designed to be very easy for a non-subject specialist to lead whilst providing plenty of opportunities for schools to go into considerable depth if they wish. Students quickly see how creative the world of science and technology can be and how it really makes a difference to our lives. The world of work is changing very quickly and it’s vital for students to see how they might want to be part of this. The project brings the world of science and technology to life.

‘We want to say a massive thank you to the students, teachers, industry ambassadors and
to Islywn School especially who worked so hard to make this happen. A team from each of
the schools will be now chosen to participate in the national showcase at The Emirates
Stadium in London on April 2nd 2019.

Schools across Wales can register here to receive all the resources they need to participate in the project.

Professional Teaching Awards Cymru

Image of a previous winnerDo you know an outstanding teacher that deserves recognition? Is there someone at your local school that needs celebrating? Are your teaching staff leading the way in technology or science?

The Professional Teaching Awards Cymru are back for 2019! Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams is looking for the very best education professionals that Wales has to offer and those that have made a real difference to their school or education setting.

There are ten categories this year including Teacher of the Year, Headteacher of the Year, Inspirational use of the Welsh Language and, new for 2019, Youth Work in Schools so there is plenty of opportunity for your school to get the recognition that they deserve.

If you’re a teacher, student, parent, employer or colleague and know someone that would be worthy of a Professional Teaching Award you have until midnight on 30 November 2018 to make a nomination online  here .

LEGO Mindstorms Training for STEM Ambassadors

On Thursday, October 11th, STEM Ambassadors in Cardiff enjoyed learning how to use LEGO Mindstorms® Education EV3 kits to engage young people with building and programming LEGO robots. The training was delivered by John Pinkney of Raising Robots, an experienced teacher who is now a LEGO Education Certified Trainer. Throughout the day, John’s classroom experience was evident with many tips on how to let pupils be creative with LEGO as well as plenty of practical Dos and Don’ts of robot building with groups of pupils.

The day started with Ambassadors pairing up to enter into a simple first across the line race. It was fascinating to see the differing styles of robot, given that all had been given the same basic instructions by John then encouraged to ‘make it their own’. Once the building was complete, the Ambassadors were introduced to the LEGO Mindstorms programming software – a simple to use, intuitive coding tool.

Following the race, it was time to adapt the robots, making them more and more sophisticated so that they ended up with ones that could spin around, ‘see’ obstacles and even ‘speak’!

The highlight of the day was the final competition – the inaugural ‘LEGO Grab-Jousting Tournament’, where robots were required to race towards a central object then pick it up and move it out of their opponent’s reach. Competition was fierce and robots were tested, tweaked and re-tested before being perfected for the final show-down. The final bout of the tournament ended in a dead heat with both robots engaged in a tug-of-war. A great end to an enjoyable day!

The STEM Ambassadors are now looking forward to taking some kits out to schools and community groups to share what they have learnt with enthusiastic youngsters. Alternatively, if you already have the kits at your school, they can come along and help you get the most out of them. If you are a teacher or a group leader you can request a visit by emailing

This is what some of the STEM Ambassadors had to say at the end of the day:

"An engaging fun day. Instructor brought the subject to life. Can’t wait to take it out to schools."

"Very engaging way to introduce Robotics. Excellent delivery focussed on young pupils in schools."

New STEM Ambassador videos launched

STEM Learning have developed new videos promoting the STEM Ambassador programme to schools, colleges and community groups. STEM Ambassadors inspire the next generation. If you haven't yet requested a STEM Ambassador visit to your school, college or group, find out more about the benefits of getting involved by following the appropriate link:     

  • For primary
  • For secondary
  • For FE
  • For youth and community groups

"We've learnt from working with STEM Ambassadors, it's the importance of role models. It's really powerful for young people to see somebody in front of them, to see a pathway, whether that's to a career or to a particular lifestyle of choice that they can aspire to." Christina Watson, Head of Programmes UK Youth.