This summer under the glorious sunshine at Dolphin House in Culzean. Baille McCrindle, Lisa Harrison, Shannon McAllister and Lynda Ballantyne from GSK Irvine supported a STEM activity day for teenagers with additional learning needs, which was part of the programme, run by Strathclyde University, which is aimed towards inclusive science education for all. The team share their insights into the day below...
It was a fun and hands-on day - wiring plugs, building towers from spaghetti and marshmallows and learning about gravity and forces during the egg drop challenge and really rewarding, getting to know the kids and encouraging them to think of creative and innovative ways to solve the challenges. First up, they were brilliant kids and I had a lot of fun getting to know some of them through the day as we worked on activities together, plus the pleasure of helping them create, learn and achieve. I got to see first-hand how a diversity of approach and thinking style is a great asset when it comes to problem solving and producing new and innovative ideas. You can learn a lot about yourself, your own skills and resourcefulness, when taking on something new like this. You have to let go of the strict discipline of a day at GSK and learn to go with the flow and adapt quickly to the new environment. I also loved getting to know colleagues better - it was lovely seeing how everyone rose to the challenges of the day.
I found it very rewarding to see the development of the young adults in the short time we spent with them. I learnt how to adapt my approach depending on the needs of the individual and allowed the individual to lead the activity rather than myself controlling what they did. I observed great teamwork between ourselves from GSK, but also the participants of the event, helping each other and also encouraging each other. The smiles and waves from the young adults as they left on the buses showed they had had a great day!
I would like to say that I had a fantastic experience working with the kids at Dolphin House for the STEM event, I was able to take away a lot of beneficial knowledge as to how different individuals learn and how best to approach a young mind when introducing them to some STEM topics. At the end of the event, it felt very rewarding to see and hear that the children had enjoyed their day and found it valuable - this sent me on my way with a smile as I felt that I had been able to share some STEM knowledge through active learning.