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For this event, a school visit is carried out to showcase experiments from different areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). You may also want to incororate some artistic component to further embed the concepts.

In the run-up to the event, some volunteers need to be recruited so that a year group from a school can be split into multiple groups, that rotate around the various work stations. One lesson can be scheduled per activity, split into the STEM demonstration and an arts component, and the school visit can then take up the whole school day if desired.

For STEAM School, a more complex structure is appropriate, as volunteers need to be recruited and trained in the demonstrations through a workshop or other means. This is followed by liaising with local schools, as cooperation from them is required to take over a school day with the support of teachers who will be on hand to supervise the groups of students.

Thus, STEAM School involves the preparation of two separate parts: volunteer recruitment and the delivery of a workshop for them, as well as planning the actual school visit and being on hand for support throughout the day, making sure that volunteers are getting on with the demonstrations and resolving any other issues that arise.

Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Children 7-12
  • Teenagers

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



The idea of inquiry-based learning has become popular over recent decades, allowing students to take a more active role in their education. While there are slightly different variants of this model, the main phases can be summarised as orientation, conceptualisation, investigation and conclusion.(1) A brief introduction to the topic and its context is followed by questioning and hypothesis generation, which is then tested experimentally through observation. Finally, we aim to arrive at an explanation for the observed behaviour. A recent meta analysis of studies that have investigated the efficacy of inquiry-based learning confirms that there is a positive effect on learning outcomes.(2)

Using a version of the IBSE (Inquiry-Based Science Education) model ensures that a dialogue is set up between demonstrators and students, in line with emerging approaches in science communication more generally.(3) Integrating an arts component at the end of demonstrations adds a new component to the learning experience for students as well. The case for the inclusion of arts into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has been made repeatedly, allowing for the generation of innovative ideas rather than a focus on knowledge and technical execution.(4)

  1. Pedaste, M. et al. Phases of inquiry-based learning: Definitions and the inquiry cycle. Educational Research Review 14, 47–61 (2015).
  2. Lazonder, A. & Barbagallo, F. & Harmsen, R. Meta-analysis of inquiry-based learning: Effects of guidance. Review of Educational Research. 86(3), 681–718 (2016).
  3. Illingworth, S. Delivering effective science communication: advice from a professional science communicator. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. 70, 10–16 (2017).
  4. Land, M. Full STEAM Ahead: The Benefits of Integrating the Arts Into STEM. Procedia Computer Science. 20, 547–552 (2013).


Project Timeline

Time Activity
Months in advance
  • Set up contacts with schools to make sure the project can go ahead before recruiting volunteers
  • Start volunteer recruitment and find a venue for workshops
  • Plan activities that incorporate enquiry based learning, STEM and art.
Weeks in advance
  • Buy necessary materials and conduct workshops, and get the volunteers to test the experiments themselves before the event.
  • Confirm the final number of volunteers and plan the schedule accordingly: how many groups can be dealt with in parallel?
On the day
  • Top up any materials if necessary and arrive at the school early to set up workstations and experiments

Single Event Structure

Volunteer Workshop

Time Activity
30 mins
  • General introduction to the project and sci comm tips
30 mins-60 mins
  • Split into groups to set up experiments and run through what is required in each activity
60 mins – 90 mins
  • Get volunteers to practice the demonstrations and give them feedback on their communication strategy etc.

School Visit

Time Activity
30-60 mins
  • General introduction to the project and sci comm tips
30 mins-60 mins
  • Set up and split students into groups with teachers’ help
40 mins, repeated
  • All workshops should be conducted within a single lesson, which will be repeated throughout the day having the kids rotate around the workstations

Personnel roles

Person Activity
Core Team
  • Organise and run the workshop(s) for volunteers
    Organise and run the workshop(s)
  • Draft schedule for school visit and arrive at venue an hour in advance to set up the workstations / coordinate volunteers
  • Rotate around groups to make sure everything runs smoothly; take over some demonstrations if any of the volunteers have dropped out
  • Attend workshop and familiarise with experiments
  • Run demonstrations according to school visit schedule


This event description is modelled on STEAM School Malta, and potential demonstrations can be taken from: