Engineering a new strategy to grow STEM

16 May 2023

The House numbers add up to a highly successful STEM Week at Christ’s College, culminating in a tense battle for mathematics supremacy following bridge-building feats of engineering and a scientific approach to a challenging quiz.

Organised by the student-led Academic Committee, the inaugural STEM Week encourages boys from all year groups and Houses to get involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities.

While three different Houses have secured individual contest titles, Corfe House has been proclaimed the overall STEM Week winner, followed by Rolleston, with Condell’s House making up the top three.

Head of Academic Angus Gifford says it has been “great to see students from across the Houses and year groups working together on the various STEM-themed challenges”.

“Plenty of students, many of whom are finding a new passion for STEM-related subjects, have been involved by participating in – or strongly supporting – the various competitions throughout the week. We want to celebrate STEM and engage more students. That has been the purpose of the week. We have strived to make each event enjoyable for everyone involved while also ensuring that those contests are challenging and engaging.”

In the STEM Week finale, Condell’s House has triumphed in the Cantamath competition, comfortably winning a fast-paced race. Featuring Bill and Sam Cross, Jack Hastie, and Felix Liu, Condell’s House has applied the pressure, deftly answering difficult mathematics questions to hold off runner-up Jacobs House, and Corfe and Somes in 3rd spot.

Earlier in the week, several Houses – led by Rolleston – have proved that they can beat the chasers, holding off a trio of College science teachers. The Beat the Chasers format has also proved a winner with the audience, with Rolleston claiming the widest winning margin and Julius, School, and Somes also gaining the maximum three points to seal wins.

Meanwhile, Richards House has built the best bridge in STEM Week, creating a small model out of popsicle sticks that can support an 8kg load. The contest to create the strongest model – using hot glue and popsicle sticks – has put the engineering skills of each House to the test. While Richards has been a clear winner, models by Corfe House – bearing a 6.6kg load – and Rolleston House (5.2kg) have also impressed. In another highlight, a joint Christ’s College–St Margaret’s College team has won the Quiz Night, with students from both schools poring over questions in a test of knowledge and speed.