Aureus School STEAM Day 12th July 2023

Jonas Software based in Wallingford believes in supporting the local community and wants to play an active role in giving back time and investing in young people’s future.

The Leadership Programme within Jonas offers a year’s training to help talented individuals learn and progress their careers within the group. In an Alan Sugar style apprentice task, this year’s cohort were given two weeks’ notice they would be going back to school, not as pupils but as Tech teachers for the day. Delivering 10, 1-hour lessons to years 9 & 10. ​

Aureus School is a relatively new co-educational secondary school in Didcot. Aureus means Golden Coin. A Roman coin worth 15 silver denarii. The school collaborates with local stakeholders to offer students a STEAM experience. STEAM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

6 intrepid aspiring  teachers for one day only, arrived at school bright and early on Wednesday 12th July from all the corners of the UK to meet the very lovely and helpful Sarah O’Rouke who checked us into the school and showed us to our classrooms.​

We decided our lesson would be fun and engage the students. 30 Buddlets – BOTs, 10 rolls of colourful masking tape. 100 AA batteries and 2 tape measure were purchased. We each bought some BOTs ourselves to have a go in advance of the day at school. ​

We prepared our slide show and organised the rooms waiting for the Grange Hill bell moment and all the young people to rush into the classroom. We did not know what to expect as none of us have ever been a schoolteacher in our careers.

Delivering the lessons was great fun. Seeing the student’s attention peek as they realised, they would be building robots in class, using their mobile phones to download an app and connect to the BOTs by Bluetooth and program the device was priceless.​

The students worked in groups of two or three and shared the roles of track creator, engineer and programmer. ​Watching classes of 30 students thoroughly engaged and happy working away for 30 minutes to finish the task was a great pleasure. ​Working closely with the pupils to bounce ideas back and forth was extremely rewarding.

At the end of 30 minutes each group did a show and tell of the track they designed and the code they wrote to see if the bot would follow the track. All the teenagers did really well, some of the groups were outstanding and programmed difficult tracks to perfection with a great deal of flare.​

We believe the day was a great success for the students and for the leadership candidates who loved this challenge and were delighted to give back their knowledge and enthusiasm to the community.