The RAF Youth and STEM Team delivers a wide range of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) engagement activities and curriculum mapped STEM resources to students aged 9 to 14 years, across the entire UK.
The programme began modestly in 2008 and now reaches over 1 million students every year. All engagements are free and designed to encourage students to take science subjects at exam level, and to consider a future in engineering.
In the first week of November 2021, the team travelled to the Isles of Skye and Raasay in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, to deliver free STEM engagement activities in 14 different primary schools. Over the week, the team sought to influence an entire generation of young people on the islands and inspire them with the opportunities that will be available to them in the world of STEM.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has disproportionately affected remote, rural communities, where teachers and students have been unable to access any external support for many months and often lack the IT connectivity necessary to support remote learning. As part of the RAF’s social mobility agenda, the RAF Youth and STEM Team seek to offer exciting STEM opportunities to students across the entire UK, with particular emphasis on ensuring free and fair access to every part of our society.
Over five days the team delivered a range of exciting and innovative STEM activities to every 9 and 10-year-old on Skye and Raasay, and to many of the younger students. The children brought robots to life, practicing their coding and design skills, and competed in races and performance challenges with their creations. They designed robots to support disaster relief operations and help to provide humanitarian aid, while learning about the importance of environmental considerations in building a safe and secure future for us all.
Many students also designed model aircraft, learning the principals of flight and built mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles with concepts including truth tables, binary operations and digital circuit design. The week was a great success and hugely enjoyable, for the team as well as the students.
"There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing young minds challenge themselves and open to new possibilities."
Wing Commander Barnes
RAF Youth & STEM Team Lead
The team are already planning similar engagement programmes in the Orkney Isles, Wales and North West England and hope to visit the Shetland Isles before the end of the academic year, to bring the benefits of STEM to young children who would otherwise miss out on so many exciting possibilities.
Are you Inspired? Visit our new STEM page for more.