STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

STEAM education inspires students to take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century.

Shaftesbury School has an award winning STEAM program run by Alex More. STEAM ambassadors work on projects that share a common theme; sustainability and innovation. Students work in teams to solve complex problems and then present their ideas to judges from the STEM industry at Big Bang events in Dorset, Exeter and on the national stage in Birmingham.

2019 to 2020 STEAM Projects:

Projects that were due to complete in May this year and a residential to Goonhilly Space Station and the Eden project were cut short this year due to COVID-19.

Every year, students apply to be part of the STEAM program at the school. The interview process involves the completion of 5 tasks, each with a STEAM discipline; Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. This video gives an insight into the process:

STEAM video made to help students complete the interview process

STEAM recruitment was done remotely this year. During lockdown, aspiring ambassadors were asked to complete the following tasks:

SCIENCE Life on Mars  Discuss the argument that Biosignatures prove life has existed on Mars previously.   Present your rationale through a presentation with a maximum of 5 slides. You should discuss how humans could live on Mars, but also some of the challenges they might face if they were to live there.   Task: Create a PowerPoint presentation and upload   
TECHNOLOGY Design an Elevator Pitch for your Big Idea  An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your big idea for STEAM. You can also use them to create interest in a project, concept or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator, 30 seconds, hence the name.  We challenge you to come up with one interesting idea, concept or project you wish to research through STEAM. Present your pitch using technology and be creative!  Task: Film or record a 30 second clip and upload or email to  
ENGINEERING Engineering the Future of the Barrier     Students will apply their physics and maths knowledge to a real situation and produce an Engineering ‘specification’ based on application of their science and mathematics knowledge and understanding. This will be put into the context of risks to London from flooding and the need for improved flood defences due to increased risk of higher floods due to rising sea levels from climate change.   Task: create a poster, presentation or report for a new Thames Barrier.  
ART Design a logo for Shaftesbury School STEAM  The logo should be transferable as a PDF and should capture in essence what STEAM is about at our school.  Your logo could be the blueprint for future t-shirt, posters and press releases so give it some thought. We look forward to seeing your designs.   Task: Design a logo and upload it as a PDF    
MATHS  The Cinema Question (Innocent Smoothies interview question)  Part a) Imagine there was a cinema in Shaftesbury. Estimate roughly how much revenue it would make in an average week.  Part b) Imagine you are given the cinema to look after for one Saturday and you have to drive the profits as hard as you can on that day alone. What would you do?   Task: Use 1 page of A4 to show your calculations and strategy and then upload as a Word document  

Students completed all 5 tasks during lockdown as part of the application

2020 – 2021 STEAM Projects

Thank you to SatComs Innovation, Atlas Electronic and Colem Engineering for supporting our projects and STEAM work at Shaftesbury School.

Project 3.1

Little Windows to the World

Project aim: The aim of the project is to use technology to connect learning between countries, and to learn about STEAM subjects through interactive online engagement with foreign students of the same age. It also aims to show students how to use technology in an independent and investigatory manner to fuel their own research.  

STEAM disciplines: Technology and Science. Depending on the ‘Big Questions’ this could come to include the other disciplines.  

Project overview We use technology to video link with students in other countries to answer a Science-based question. Our Science teachers have supported us in testing the depth of the knowledge we have acquired. We review the efficacy of the tools we use and are looking at how we can pass our learning on to others now.

Project 3.2

STEAM in the Community

Project Aim: The aim of the project is to teach younger students how to protect our planet using VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and technology. Students train as teachers and lead lessons in our school and local Primary schools. 

STEAM disciplines: Technology, Science, Art and cooking. 

Project Overview: We deliver fun and interactive lessons to students from years 3 to 7. Do you love Science and value technology? Do you want to become a teacher? If the answer is ‘yes’ then this might be the project for you. Next year the focus is on ‘future food’. Students will be challenged to create and cook delicious, sustainable and futureproof recipes that help us eat better for ourselves and for the planet. Inspired by the SPACE 10 project (Copenhagen) students will experiment with spirulina bioreactors, mealworm burgers, algae chips and sourdough churros. Sound fun? Dig in!

Project 3.3

The Lightboard project

Project Aim: To record interactive teaching videos using a digital lightboard. The team record videos in the lightboard suite and edit them as part of the post production process. The videos are then uploaded to YouTube as part of the flipped learning approach to lessons. 

STEAM disciplines: Technology and Science.

Project Overview: The lightboard team reached the national finals last year with their amazing project.A lightboard is an 8mm sheet of low iron glass that is lit with LED lights. The subject (the teacher) stands behind the glass and writes notes directly onto the screen. The magic comes in post-production where the images are flipped to create immersive videos. The team set-up, record and edit the videos which are shared on YouTube

Project 3.4

Nature vs The Machine

Project Aim: To learn about the science of hydro and aquaponics with a focus on sustainability and future food. The team have set up two sustainable growing mediums which succeed in growing salad, herbs and fruit via a soilless system. The aim of the project is to discover whether nature (aquaponics, food grown from fish waste) yields greater crop outputs when compared to a hydroponic system controlled by the machine (a Raspberry-Pi). 

STEAM disciplines: Technology, Engineering and Science.

Project Overview: This project jumpstarts thinking around how humanity can grow, eat and cultivate their own food with minimal environmental impact. In a world of growing populations, the way we consume food has to change. If you enjoy Science and value technology then this project might be the right one for you. For the year ahead, this projects will have two teams. 

Team 1 – the innovation in food team will use science to explore what is possible to grow in both systems. 

Team 2 – the coding team will explore how to code the Raspberry=pi to create optimum growing conditions to include Ph levels, water flow, photosynthesis rates and optimum light to mimic real growing environments. 

Project 3.5

Small change, BIG difference

Project Aim: This project is in its 3rd year. The aim is to use STEAM to raise awareness of human impact on our ecosystems. The key themes are sustainability and action. The team have worked on raising awareness of ocean plastics by upcycling wetsuits to create pencil cases and making bracelets from ‘ghost nets’ which are abandoned fishing nets. They have also designed recycling bins for the school and planted trees on the field to offset carbon emissions. 

STEAM disciplines: Science, technology and art with an interest in Maths and Geography. 

Project Overview: Prior to lockdown, the team were designing ‘carbon capture’ technology and investigating how a bio-filter might help clean the air locally. If you have an interest in conversation, sustainability and being proactive in creating solutions, this is a hands-on team. 

Project 3.6

3D Printing

Project Aim: 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. This project will focus on designing and printing 3D models for other STEAM projects to support and create products. 

STEAM disciplines: Science, Technology, Maths, Design and Engineering. 

Project overview: Learn how to print in 3D, from the design process to holding the actual product. You will work as part of a team to design models and print them to support other teams. 

Project 3.7

Animation of the Future Classroom Mascot

Project Aim: To learn animation and bring the future classroom mascot ‘Cosmo’ to life. Animation is a method in which figures are manipulated to appear as moving images, using CGI. 

STEAM disciplines: Science, Technology, Media and Art. 

Project overview: You will work as part of a team to design a working animation of Cosmo, the future classroom mascot. The finished design will be displayed on inter-active touchscreens so students can interact with it and learn objectives and content. 

Project 3.8

Designing a thrilling rollercoaster

Project Aim: In this project students research roller coaster design and build a model roller coaster to investigate the speed of the car using light gates or dataloggers.   Students can investigate whether the mass of the car or the height of the track affect the speed.

STEAM disciplines: Science (physics), Engineering & Maths. 

Project overview: Rollercoasters are an adrenaline rush, but did you know that its engineers putting the thrills and chills into your favourite rides, as well as making sure they’re safe to use? This project involves building indoor roller coasters whilst learning about forces, motion and acceleration. 

The new STEAM Lab in the Future Classroom will be a workspace and showcase for student projects