STEM Workshops

Here at How To Raise A Happy Genius, we are strong believers in the importance of expanding the horizons of children through the provision of practical and hands-on experiences. This is particularly true when it comes to science, technology, engineering and maths (known as STEM subjects), and we believe that the earlier that children are exposed to these subjects, the better – both in terms of making children aware of these subjects, and in developing the critical thinking and ‘trial-and-error’ style of learning and problem-solving that are required for STEM subjects.

As a result, we have created a range of STEM workshops for primary schools. Together, these workshops cover all four main branches of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) and are aimed at providing a practical and fun introduction to the areas covered. Each workshop is based around a relatively simple experiment (such as the classic ‘mentos and diet coke’ experiment) or experience (such as making a paper aeroplane or an air-propelled rocket from a plastic drinks bottle) and this is used to explore an individual STEM topic in more detail. Unlike many other STEM workshops for primary schools (and, indeed, schools in general), these workshops do not primarily depend on demonstrations conducted by the person running the workshop, but instead require the children to both actively participate in the workshop and to help determine the direction that it will take. Thus, this approach not only allows them to learn about STEM facts and principles, it also teaches them about the mental framework and thought processes on which STEM subjects are based.

At the moment, six workshops are available for primary schools based in the central belt of Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and the surrounding areas). These workshops typically last between one and one-and-a-half hours and are aimed at groups sizes of thirty-two children (although this upper limit is flexible). Our preferred time to run these workshops is in the mid-morning as this provides enough time for the children to settle into the school day, while not being too fatigued to get the most out of the experience.

These workshops are:

  1. How To Design A Rocket: In this workshop, the students will learn about the scientific principles behind rockets and how they work. They will then take part in a series of practical trials where they will investigate how changes in the design of a rocket impacts its performance. Finally, they will use this information to design their own rocket to reach a target set a specific distance away. Duration: Between one and one and a half hours. Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Rocket Workshop Enquiry.
  2. How To Think Like An Engineer: In this workshop, the students will use paper aeroplanes to learn about how engineers think about the world around them, and they create new objects, machines and technologies. The workshop will start with a simple question: how do you make the best possible paper aeroplane? They will then be asked to consider what this question means, and how they would define the word ‘best’. For example, is it the furthest flight, the longest duration, the straightest, the most accurate, and so on. They will then be asked to make a paper aeroplane, test it, and then alter the design to see if, and how, they can improve it. Duration: One to one and a half hours. Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Think Like An Engineer Workshop Enquiry.
  3. How To Think Like A Scientist: In this workshop, the students will use the classic ‘diet coke and mentos’ experiment to learn about how scientists think, answer questions and solve problems using the scientific method. This will be done by exploring why mentos turn diet coke into a geyser, and what you can do to make the best possible one. After completing the basic experiment, it will be re-run, changing individual variables one at a time to see what effect this has on the height and duration of the geyser produced. Once this has been thoroughly explored the students will be asked to take this knowledge and design a display in which they will create a eye-catching spectacular by setting off multiple geysers in succession. Duration: One to one and a half hours. Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Think Like A Scientist Workshop Enquiry.
  4. Robots And Robotics: A Beginner’s Guide: In this workshop, the students will learn about robots and other autonomous technologies which are increasingly becoming a part of modern life. This will include how they are used, how they are designed and built, and how they are programmed to do specific tasks. The students will then build and program a very simple robotic device based on a Roman ballista. Duration: Between one and one and a half hours. Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Robots Workshop Enquiry.
  5. Coding And Programming: A Beginner’s Guide:  In this workshop, the students will learn about coding, and how it can be used to create computer programs. This will be done by learning about how coding can be used to program a robot to do a specific task. After a brief introduction, they will take part in two practical exercises. In the first, they will using coding to program a robotic piano player to play a specific tune. In the second, they will work out how to design and write a code to make a robotic arm pick up and move an object to a new location. Duration: One to one and a half hours. Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Coding And Programming Workshop Enquiry.
  6. The Maths With Zombies Training Academy: In this workshop, students will use mathematics to work out how best to survive six scenarios that they might encounter during a zombie apocalypse. As well as being entertaining in its own right, this provides a great introduction to the practical application of maths and helps the students understand how maths can be used to solve problems in everyday life. Each scenarios takes place during a different phase of a zombie apocalypse, and has been specifically created to be suitable for primary age children (so there are no guns involved). As well as solving the initial scenario, the students will also be encouraged to come up with their own variations on it, and suggest ways to incorporate these variations into the mathematical solution for it.  Duration: One to one and a half hours.Cost: £200. For more information about this workshop, including how to book it, click here or email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com using the subject line Maths With Zombies Workshop Enquiry.

All the workshop will be run by Dr Colin D. MacLeod. He has worked as a research scientist for over twenty years (and has authored over 50 scientific papers and reports) , as well as working as an educationalist, lecturer and street entertainer. He is a strong advocate of introducing children to the scientific method, critical thinking, ‘trial and error’ learning and STEM subjects as early as possible in their education. He is also the founder of How To Raise A Happy Genius, and an author of books for both adults and children (published under the pseudonym Colin M. Drysdale). He is also PVG-registered and has an up-to-date PVG certificate.

For more information, or to book a workshop, email colin@howtoraiseahappygenius.com. Please use the name of the of the main workshop you are interested in the subject line of your email to help us identify them and respond as quickly as possible.