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Inspiring STEM Futures

There’s a lot of talk right now around ‘STEM’ and the role of science and technology-based programmes in educating the workforce of the future.

But what exactly is STEM and why is it so important? Read our latest blog which shines a light on the four areas of study that form some of the most sought-after degrees from employers and what we are doing at ISA to promote these key subjects.

STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) is an umbrella term for a group of subjects that fall within these four areas. STEM education focuses on practical learning, to develop the necessary skills in students so they’re prepared for the rapidly developing real world.

This ethos very much aligns with our own school value to deliver excellence in education as we work to ensure our students are equipped to meet the demands of changing technology, with a particular focus on renewable energy and green technologies.

Today, our graduates leave education and enter a fast-changing globalised economy where they must continually learn and adapt. The accelerated pace of change of so many aspects of the world around us means that our children will be presented with job opportunities that we don’t even know exist yet or they will find themselves working in traditional jobs that are performed very differently.

At ISA, creative and flexible approaches to education inspire our students to reach their full potential, by being self-starters and confident global citizens who understand the value of connecting themselves with others to achieve positive outcomes.

Most recently, two groups of our Grade 8 students recently took the theory, knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to the next level in the form of a regional competition.

The 12-week Industrial Cadets Bronze Project, which was entirely student-led, is run by EDT (Engineering Development Trust) to build critical skills, celebrate achievements, and provide young people with the confidence to succeed. The organisation helps young people develop the STEM skills, knowledge and experience they need to take control of their futures and to develop critical skills for a career in STEM while affecting change in the world around them.

We entered two teams of six students who were assigned mentors with TAQA, a global company focused on strategic infrastructure projects for the energy industry, and our partners for the project. Our students visited TAQA in Aberdeen to give them a taste of real industry experience and an insight into future careers in the energy and technology sectors.

The students worked diligently to build their Industrial Cadets portfolios to showcase experiences and acquired skills, celebrating progression and fostering a sense of achievement.

Our two teams at ISA chose to:

  • Team 1: Design a building with a vision of sustainability in a bid to tackle climate change
  • Team 2: Design a green garden tailored for either specific people, a place or purpose.

The students were asked to think about a broad range of issues including how green spaces are designed, what nature might look like in the future, and how the choices they make today can impact their future.

The project came to a close at the end of April with both our teams attending the North-East regional finals at University of Aberdeen. The teams worked together to set up their stalls to showcase the 3D models they created, and we are delighted to report that Team 2 were hailed as the regional winners for the first time!

Students were given the choice of using an existing greenspace to improve or start afresh, taking into account sustainability, accessibility, and community needs; discovering the hidden STEM in gardening.

We chose this project because we thought it would be a fun challenge to design a garden and we knew we could learn a lot from it,” said one of our students.

The main things we wanted inside our garden were: a cafe, a greenhouse, endangered animals area, bees, vegetable patch/fruit area, shop to sell extra produce, Scottish plants and a water irrigation system. We wanted the garden to create its own energy to ensure it’s self-sustainable.

“We discussed our progress with our mentors and teachers which helped keep us on track.”

Huge congratulations to all our enthusiastic and hard-working students for reaching the Scottish National Finals in June!

As part of inspiring the next generation to pursue STEM focused careers, we also offer our students the chance to take part in our popular After-School Fun STEM Clubs. For our younger students, we offer the Elementary STEM Club for kindergarten to Grade 2, while Grades 3-5 attend their own STEM Club each week after school.

We value peer to peer involvement at ISA with our older students taking part in The Young STEM Leaders Programme (YSLP), which aims to inspire more young people to develop an interest in STEM subjects for future pathways.

It’s so wonderful to see our older students leading the After School Clubs for the younger students as it offers the ideal platform for them to gain valuable leadership experience, while children in the lower grades enjoy having older children as role models who they can learn from and look up to.

As Scotland’s first international school, we’ve also adapted and changed over the last 50 years since our doors first opened, and we’ve adjusted our mindsets towards a different kind of education – an education geared toward helping our children find their place in the world. We know education plays a vital role in readying the future workforce to meet changes in technology and shifting global energy targets.

And this is why we focus on cultivating leaders – the makers of change and it’s exactly why we place such emphasis on educating future STEM leaders as the next generation of innovators.

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