MORE than 200 Basingstoke students got a hands-on education in science and engineering as part of a STEM-themed day last week.

Year 7 students at Aldworth School, in Western Way, took part in the event on Thursday, 2 November which featured them taking part in three different activities to improve their understanding of the STEM subjects.

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, and the school were encouraging students by having the three separate activities to stimulate interest in the subjects.

One of the activities, run by engineering education group the Engineering Development Trust, saw the groups make a roller coaster out of paper.

The constructions were supported by plastic poles and a marble acted as the car, travelling down the rollercoaster. Points were awarded for the design, how long the marble took to get down the chute and how well the structure was put together.

Philip Lennard, a former chartered engineer and instructor with the Engineering Development Trust, said: “This is a great example of how engineering can be used to impact the world around them. Through this, we are encouraging them to use their ingenuity. It is great to see what designs they come up with, and there are always different ones each time. This is a prime example of the laws of physics, and how Newton’s laws work. It is great fun.”

The second activity was building a small boat out of paper plates, tin foil and lollipop sticks which was strong enough to hold an owl and a cat soft toy, based on the Owl and the Pussycat poem by Edward Lear.

The student’s creations were then put to the test as their models were floated on a tank of water for ten seconds to see if the designs held up.

The last activity, run by the Winchester Science Centre, had students split into groups, and which were then each divided into two.

The pupils were told to build a bridge over a table out of limited K’Nex pieces, but the sub-teams could not talk to each other, instead communicating through whiteboards and designs to put the focus on communication.