IOP launches STEM activities for RAF centenary

6 April 2018

IOP has teamed up with the Historical Association to launch a series of videos and STEM activities for schools and youth groups as part of the Royal Air Force centenary celebrations.

IOP launches STEM activities for RAF centenary

The 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF was on 1 April and under the RAF100 Schools Project, IOP and the Historical Association have developed a set of eight activities matched to pivotal moments in the RAF’s history, from its inception in 1918, through the Battle of Britain and the Falklands War to modern missions, to show students how physics played a critical role in these events. The resources are available to download and are suitable for all secondary school students.

The RAF100 Schools Project was created to help schools and young people learn about the men and women of the RAF, and will give young people a rare opportunity to learn about both history and STEM. Activities include balancing forces to make an aircraft fly, building electric circuits for secret communications, investigating accuracy when planning a humanitarian relief operation and viewing things in 3D for intelligence gathering.

IOP’s School Support and Resources Manager, Dr Taj Bhutta, said: “We think we’ve created something unique here. The physics of flight or how the Enigma machine worked can be complex, but we have made something to allow students to learn by playing and build up slowly, so that all students can engage with it at some level. With material to extend the most able, and something for teachers to learn as well, I hope the activities will live on and be used for many years to come.”

The RAF 100 Schools Project was launched in January at Bentley Priory Museum and the RAF invited Dr Bhutta and colleagues to join them on a stand at the Big Bang Fair in March, where the team gave out glider activity kits to more than 1,000 school students and at least 150 teachers over the course of three days. “It was great to see so much enthusiasm from students when we handed out the kits,” Dr Bhutta said. “The story of the RAF is a fascinating story about how history drives technology and technology drives history. It’s a great context in which to study physics”

Further activities, including free CPD sessions, are planned during the anniversary year.

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