Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

Welcome to the STEM web page. At West Chiltington School, we would like all our children to nurture a keen interest across these subjects.

However, we are aware that recent statistics show that in the UK: women make up only 8% of engineers; only 10% of managers in STEM careers are women; and only 10% of STEM businesses are owned by women. If we bring this analysis back to education: 49% of state schools send no girls to study A-level physics, and of those students who are taking an A-level in the subject, only a fifth are girls - despite getting similar grades at GCSE as boys.

We have set up this web page to highlight the work that the school and parents are doing to bring STEM opportunities into the classroom and at home for all children in order to encourage their interest.

If you have any STEM related contribution to make, please contact

STEM assembly at school: Human Reactions

Last week's science assembly was spent looking at human reactions and the speed it takes for us to think. We tried this experiment to test our reaction times. You could try it at home. Do you get better with practice? Is there a difference between your left and right hand? Who in your family has the quickest reaction times? Why might that be?

A simplified version of what happens in the reaction:

1. The light entering the eye.

2. The eye sending a message to the brain.

3. The brain working out what is happening.

4. The brain deciding what to do.

5. The brain sending a message to the hand muscles to grip the ruler.

6. The hand muscles receiving the message and gripping the ruler.

Reaction Time Games and Videos

Reaction test

Reaction test 2

Tennis quick reaction

Formula 1 reaction times

Slow mo sprint start reaction


Animals (including us humans!) need good reactions. Can you find any examples of animals reacting to what they can sense around them? It doesn't have to be quick reactions. Observe your pet if you have one or do some research. You could write down, draw or video what you find out and send it in to school. I wonder what the quickest and slowest reactions are. Can plants and trees react?

STEM news

Car launched into space!

Continuing the theme of strange things launched into space this week. Elon Musk has launched his own Tesla into space in a spectacular launch on 6 February.

For more information and video clips on the launch please see The Guardian article here .

Disco ball launched into space!

New Zealand has launched a disco ball into space which orbits the earth every 90 minutes and is visible from Earth. They have called it the Humanity Star and have launched it to create a shared experience for everyone on Earth. Humanity Star is designed to be "a bright symbol and reminder to all on Earth about our fragile place in the universe". You can read more about it in the BBC article here.

Humanity star website.

STEM afternoon - 29th January

As you will know a group of parents have been working with us on plans to promote more interest in science, maths and technology. On January 29th we will be launching our take away science investigations- family friendly experiments in a box to play with at home. You are invited to assembly at 1pm on that afternoon when we will also be joined by some engineers and scientists for some live demonstrations. You can stay for the afternoon and join in with experiments in your children's classrooms. Our STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) boxes will be available to borrow from then.

STEM Boxes.......are here!

STEM boxes are self-contained fun experiments in a box that your children can take home with them from school. They contain the instructions and all the equipment that you and your child will need to try the experiment. They also contain feedback forms which we will read when you return the box to help us develop the boxes further.

If you haven't yet taken a box, or you would like to take a new one, remind your child to take one or feel free to pop in before or after school and sign one out from the cupboard in the craft room. If you're unsure where to look, just ask.


Yellow class are currently learning about space and two interesting questions have come from the class:

Why does the moon change shape?

I found a good children's video on YouTube to explain it here.

As well as learning about the moon, the question also raises good topics such as light travelling in straight lines, and how it reflects off of some things, and can lead to further experiments with torches and mirrors.

Why are planets round?

A very interesting question introducing the concept of gravity. See here for a great children's space website explaining the answer.

Where are we in the whole universe?

There is a great answer in this amazing video sent in by one of the Yellow Class parents: video.

Please send your children's questions (and any answers you have found if you have them!) to


Please send us your pictures of your children enjoying STEM activities.

Charlie & Rupert Head-Parsons (Purple & Green), trying out the 'Fun with density' STEM box at home. They loved working out whether each ingredient would sink or float.

Poppy Hearnshaw (Green Class) enjoying the Make Your Own Volcano experiment: "Poppy had great fun making the volcano. After completing the experiment we went on to have lots of fun with our own ingredients."

Finley Harvey (Green Class) making and experimenting with slime:

Yellow Class painting paper mâché planets:

Fun facts!

Tim Peake's five fun facts about space flight here.

Cool maths trick for remembering 9 times tables:

Here is a mind-blowing maths trick It goes like this for remembering your 9 times tables.

Example: 9 x 3

Put both hands up with 10 fingers/thumbs. Put your third finger from the left down on your left hand. Then count the number of fingers on the left side of that finger (here you get 2) and on the right side of the finger (you get 7). Put those numbers together (27) and there's your answer. 9 x 3 = 27.

It works all the way up to 10 x9. So cool.

Up and Coming Events

Next STEM committee meetings - all welcome:


10th-18th February - Brighton Science Festival.

Tickets onsite now - details of the event can be found on here. With solar system cycle rides to making slime, there is plenty to interest everyone during this 9 day festival.

14th -17th March 2018 - Big Bang Science Fair - Birmingham NEC (website link) - see below for the Southeast version of this event.

9th June 2018- Horsham STEMfest, at Carfax, Horsham - in it's second year (details here). This is a one day pop-up celebration.

27th-28th June 2018 - Big Bang Fair - South East. Venue: South of England Showground, Ardingly. (website link).

Useful Articles

The Engineering Gap - November 2016 [BBC Website]

To get more women in STEM little girls need better role models - February 2017 [The Conversation]

Getting in early to avoid stereotyping careers - April 2015 [The Conversation]

Waterloo Bridge's WW2 women recognised for the first time - June 2015 [BBC News} and The Ladies Bridge - [WES website]

Olympic gymnast Beth Twaddle urges youngsters to study maths and science to preventskills shortage - October 2015 [The Mirror]

A teen just trying to figure it out - Tavi Gevison - March 2012 [TED talk]

Science is for everyone kids included - Beau Lotto & Amy O'Toole - June 2012 [TED talk]

Places to visit

Royal Institute of Science - London

South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre - Chichester

The Observatory Science Centre - Hailsham, East Sussex

The Science Museum - London

The Big Science Fair - Birmingham NEC

Kidzania - London

Winchester Science Centre - Winchester

If you visit any of these places or spot a great event coming up, please let us know and we will post it to the web page!