STEM Day – Summer Term 2 2018

The theme for our STEM Day across the federation was CSI (Crime Scene Investigation). Every child in our federation worked together on a special day of themed working to expand our STEM skills.

Nursery

Mrs Sutterby came into class to discover that our class dog named Cherry was missing. There was a black hand print on the wall. Mrs Sutterby marked off the area with cones and tape, so we could investigate what had happened. We thought of ways of tracking Cherry down. We looked at the hand print and measured it against our hand prints. We checked out our finger prints with paint to see what they looked like. We decided the hand print belonged to someone with a big hand. Some children used binoculars and magnifying glasses to search for foot prints and hand prints. Other children tried to sniff for Cherry, wrote posters to place around the classroom and searched for other clues. Another child said we should tell the police. We wrote a letter to Mr Barnes the caretaker to see if he had seen or heard anything when he locked the classroom door.  Mr Barnes checked the cameras and told us to check the office. We discovered Cherry under Mrs Borgars’ desk. We are pleased to have Cherry back in nursery.

Reception

On STEM day, in Reception, we thought about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and thought about the story Dinosaur Police. We had to see if we could make a ramp that would help the police car travel the furthest to catch Trevor the dinosaur, and after lunch Trevor had visited our classroom and eaten our pizza! We found footprints in the classroom and cheese on the floor, and were able to measure the footprints like we had been practising in our maths this week. Trevor had eaten our pizza but left the ingredients to make more so we were able to have a go and making, then eating pizza. We felt happy at the end of the day as Trevor had been a nice dinosaur to us and left us our ingredients 😃

Year 1 and 2

At the beginning of the day we found a crime scene in our school! We learnt in assembly that all the pencils had been taken and there were three suspects. We spent the day doing different crime scene investigation activities in the Year 1 and 2 classrooms to find out who committed the crime.

Measuring footprints
Footprints were left at the scene and the children used their skills to measure the footprints to identify the culprit. First the children looked closely at the footprints to see if they could see anything that may help them. Then the children used rulers to measure the footprint and compared the length they measured to the size of the suspects.

Computing – Recording the crime

The children looked at different photographs from the crime scene and reported what they could see using the computer. They recorded the evidence found from the suspects using a variety of description to rep

Dusting for fingerprints
The children found fingerprints on CDs left at the crime scene. They used dusting powder to dust on the fingerprints and lift them off using sellotape.

Chromatography
The children were left a note from the culprit and they had to work out which of the suspects had written the note. The children completed an experiment which separated the ink mixtures into the colour compounds to find a matching ink!

Fingerprints
The children printed their own fingerprints and looked at the different patterns they could see.

Observing fibres closely
The children looked at fibres from different materials closely using the digital microscope. They matched materials to the fibres they found.

Year 3

We began our Year 3 STEM day receiving an email which said that there had been a break in at our school and the culprit had taken all of our work we have been doing on Fantastic beasts! The only thing the culprit left behind was a bone covered in vinegar from their meal last night…

In our science topic we have started learning about fantastic beasts, their skeletons and different types of food. When we looked at the bone that was left behind, we saw that it was bendy! We all wanted to learn how this had happened so we researched how to make a bone bendy. We found out that this happens when a bone is left in vinegar. Vinegar is actually a very mild acid. We thought we would try this out for ourselves using a chicken bone and vinegar. We also decided, that to make it more of a scientific investigation we would put another bone in coke (another mild acid) so we could compare the two bones after five days! We’re looking forward to the results!

We looked at other ways bones move and discussed the way our backs bend. We realised that this was because of the joints in our back. We were given pipe cleaners and straws and had to make a model using these that explains how our backs can bend! We then sketched different skeletons.

We were asked to complete a Cluedo challenge and work out which Cluedo character committed the crime. We were given a list of the different Cluedo characters with facts about them. We then had to complete different maths challenges to work out which people to might have been. We couldn’t decide between two people…

However, one suspect was allergic to vinegar! It had to be Colonel Mustard! We had solved the mystery! We decided to reply to the email to say that we knew who the culprit was. We all accessed our school email accounts and replied to the Cluedo detective with our good news!

We really enjoyed our STEM day and had fun solving clues to work out the mystery!

 

Year 4

As the focus of our STEM day was CSI, the children put their detective skills to the test, examining and comparing their own fingerprints. They learnt that although fingerprint are unique to the individual, they can be classified into 3 groups: loops, whorls and arches. The children investigated their own prints and used careful observation to decide which group they belonged to. Using this scientific learning and our recent work on data handling and statistics in maths, the children answered the question ‘How do our fingerprints compare to national averages?’ Children confidently collected the data and presented their findings. Using computing, they investigated all the possible ways they could show the collected class data, including bar and pie charts and donuts. Then, they discussed which image was the most effective and explained why. The children thoroughly enjoyed collecting ‘dactylograms’ (otherwise known as fingerprints).

 by Jack and Willow

 by Benji and Grace

Year 5

Year 5 discovered how to write secret messages using different types of invisible ink, which they made themselves from lemon juice and candle wax.

They worked in teams of three to find a murderer by solving mathematical clues based on measure and later completed a maths investigation involving mysterious footprint casts.

In the afternoon, Year 5 discovered more about the history of fingerprinting. They observed their own fingerprint before designing it into a very individual piece of art.

Year 6

During our STEM Day, we became expert detectives and solved a murder mystery during a giant game of Cluedo! After answering questions by applying our mathematical knowledge and skills, year 6 accused Mr Chris Hemsworth (Hollywood actor), in the school canteen, with a protractor.

In the afternoon, year 6 explored fingerprints! We discovered everyone’s fingerprints are unique! Consequently, this makes fingerprints ideal for solving crimes through gathering forensic information. We learnt there are three different types of fingerprints: the loops (most common fingerprint pattern), the whorl (identified by showing two deltas), and the arch (identified by showing no deltas). After applying this information, which was through the use of charcoal, year 6 students discovered which type of unique fingerprints they have. This then developed into allowing our creative mind to flourish and produce artwork to demonstrate all the different swirls and patterns.

 

STEM Day – Spring Term

Our work for STEM day in Nursery included focusing on the lifecycle of a butterfly. We used the story ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ to help us. We could choose to paint symmetrical butterflies, play with the small world butterflies and caterpillars, create repeating patterns on the caterpillars and use the internet to find out more about the lifecycle of a butterfly.

Reception

The activities in Reception included using the children’s sense of smell when playing with the playdough; we added a range of herbs and spices to the dough and talked about their different smells, we decided that some were subtle smells and some were strong smells. We learnt about animal habitats; we thought about and discussed where the different animals would like to live in their natural environment. We also used our sense of touch when using the feely boxes and described what we could feel inside; rough, bumpy, smooth, soft or hard.

Year 1

Bird Beaks

The children watched a video about how bird beaks were adapted to what they ate. They talked about the shape and size of the beaks to be able to make the best beak to pick up as many beads as they could.

They had a trialling station to be able to try their beak before their tested it. At the end of the session, they all tested their beaks and we recorded the total for each group. We then looked at the best beak and the way they had created their beak.

Symmetrical Butterflies

The children learnt what the word symmetrical meant and looked at photos of symmetry in nature and buildings. We looked more closely at the symmetrical wings of a butterfly. We talked about matching the shapes, the colour and the position to make a symmetrical wing.

The children worked with their partners to create symmetrical butterfly wings using lego bricks. We then looked at each other’s butterfly to check they were symmetrical.

Creating a minibeast

The children watched a video about all sorts of different minibeasts and then looked at different photos of minibeasts. We discussed the parts of their bodies including antennae, legs and wings. The children constructed their own minibeasts using lots of different materials, they then wrote about how many legs they have and where they might live. They used rulers to measure how long their minibeast was too!

Year 2

In year 2, we enjoyed taking part in a range of different STEM activities all linked to learning about the Human Body.

One session involved learning about our Skeleton. The children discussed why we need a skeleton and whether all animals need to have one to survive. Lots of children already knew some of the important bones that make up our skeleton and we learnt the names of more. The children were then able to make their own version of the human skeleton using a range of different pasta shapes. All of the children made their own unique interpretation of the human skeleton and really enjoyed it!

Year 2 also investigated the human lungs. The children talked about the important job the lungs have in helping to keep the body alive. We learnt that the air travels down the trachea and then is shared to the left and right lung by the bronchus. When the air reaches the lung it travels along the bronchioles to the alveoli’s where the air is split into good air and bad air. The children made their own paper lungs to help them understand how they work.

Another area of the body that we looked at was muscles and how they work. We thought about very small movements that we make and how we still use muscles to move. We looked at how muscles work in pairs, and we then worked with a partner to make our own moving hand using straws and string.

Year 3

We have had a lovely day today exploring many new things about plants. We have been using different ways to record how a plant is pollinated, creating our own models of a leaf cell up close and recording and interpreting data from information given to us!

To make a model of a leaf cell, we looked at lots of different pictures of leaves up close. To begin with, we could not work out what they were! Some of us thought they looked like a donut, a cactus or even a wormhole in space! We were all surprised when we found out what they were! To make our models we used a range of materials, including art straws, masking tape, tissue and crepe paper as well as lots of other things we found and thought of along the way! They all look amazing!

Using data given to us about the growth of a bean, we also drew bar charts to show the how much the bean grew over 9 weeks. We explored how plot our data on a graph and then used this to answer questions.

We used technology to create a video to explain the process of pollination. We created different props for this video and used different plant vocabulary. Some of us used these props to become parts of a plant for this video whilst others directed it! Some of us even began to type this up as well.

Year 4

For the Spring term STEM Day, Year 4 decided to focus on one area of our Biology curriculum – habitats – and had so much fun studying trees. Once again, the children experienced a range of activities and learned lots too.

One of the tasks was to answer the question: “Which tree in school provides the largest habitat?” Mr Hambright took the children outside to do some maths in the open air. Working in groups, they measured the circumference of trees in the school grounds as well as performing some very tricky manoeuvres to also find out the height of the trees too! They were a bit disappointed that measurements were from the ground and no flying was allowed!!

With Mrs Bowes-Mulligan, the children were able to really let their imaginations fly as they used their creativity and science knowledge to write poetry about tree habitats. Following the creation of their poems, the children then used their technical learning and computing skills to present their poems in a variety of layouts and different styles to add to the meaning of their words – wow! We think you will be impressed by these examples:

For their activity with Dr Francis, the children became designers and engineers. They began by looking at the different habitats within a rainforest and what made each one (the emergent layer, the canopy, the understory and the forest floor) different and special. The children went on to research the features of different animals and to think about how their bodies are specialised to allow them to live in particular habitats. Finally, they used all the information they had gathered to design and draw their own “new creature” to successfully live in a rain forest. They had to explain why they had used each feature so construct an animal suited to its habitat. They came up with some truly astounding creations!

 

Year 5

Our theme for this stem day was biology.

In the morning, year 5 designed birdhouses. They carefully designed their birdhouses by sketching there ideas for materials that birds could use to make their own houses in the wild. Later on, Year 5 transformed their ideas from paper to reality by using junk materials to bring their birdhouses to life.

During the day, year 5 learnt about the effect of exercise on our body with Miss Gilfillan .They took part in different exercises to see how it affected their heart rate. They participated in running, hopping, walking and skipping. They counted their heart beat to see the difference between the different exercises and their heart rates.

The third activity took place with Mrs Lee. They learnt about germs and hand hygiene. They put cream on their hands that show up in UV lighting. The equipment that we used was borrowed from The John Innes Centre. They had to thoroughly rub in cream to make sure it covered their hands. This is to show that they can wash their hands properly. They then placed their hands under UV lights to see if they missed any places. They then washed their hands to wash off all of the cream. The children went back to the UV lights to see if they washed off all of their cream.  They really enjoyed this activity and it shows who knows how to wash their hands properly.

Year 6

Miss Connors investigated the ‘survival of the fittest’ by asking children to create their own paper bird to ‘take flight’ across the classroom. Those that were unable to complete their journey unfortunately left the class’s ‘flock’ and children were asked to replace them with ‘offspring’ of those that did. Each time, the birds had further to travel. However, each ‘generation’ of birds also improved their aerodynamic shape. From this, children could observe that within three generations birds, their suitability to their environment dramatically changed and only those most adapted to flying could survive.

Mrs Williams investigated the evolution of birds from the Galapagos Island if the island became flooded. The children learnt that the birds would survive if they had random mutations that gave beneficial tendencies from a seed eating beak to a type more suitable for water. They drew this in four pictures, then using Movie Maker created a movie showing their images evolving.

Mrs Smith had a battle of the beaks! This activity involved the children becoming Galapagos finches with empty stomachs (plastic cups). They tried to eat various food sources (including rubber band worms, beetle paper clips and matchstick twigs) using only their beaks (tweezers, scissors, spoons and binder clips). There was lots of learning about science and maths and competition and survival. We observed lots of interesting behaviour when food supplies were getting scarce and how different beaks evolve and take advantage of different food sources.

We enjoyed getting together as a year group at the end of the day to share some of our fantastic I-Movies and to share what we had learned about evolution and inheritance.

STEM Day – Autumn Term

Nursery

Nursery children had the opportunity to participate in a selection of activities, including making magic potions, boats that float to fit a dinosaur, and building the tallest tower they could before it fell down.

Reception

Reception enjoyed taking part in the whole school STEM day (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
We experimented with circuits and learnt how to make a bulb light up by connecting wires to a battery and the bulb.
We explored Cuisenaire rods and made shapes, patterns and built towers with them.
We also learnt how to make paper lanterns by using scissors to cut lines into the paper and then use tape to join it together and create a handle.

Year 1

Year 1 explored different methods of transport for STEM day. They made paper rockets using drinking straws and tested how far they could fly. They made boats out of tin foil and counted how many pennies their boats could hold in the water. They also made bridges for a train out of different types of pasta and play dough and tested their strength with a toy train.

Year 2

Year 2 enjoyed taking part in a variety of different stem activities. One activity involved making towers out of newspaper. The children had to work in groups and discuss how to make their tower stable. The towers were tested by seeing how many books the towers would hold, one tower held 50 books!

We also did a science experiment to test the absorbency of biscuits. We heard the story of the gingerbread man and talked about what would have happened if the events in the story were to change We tested 3 different biscuits; gingerbread, digestives and rich tea and tested them by timing how long each biscuit would stay in warm water for before falling apart. All 3 classes found that the rich tea biscuit lasted the longest before breaking.

For our final activity we made our own marble mazes using a paper plate and different materials including, straws, lolly sticks and string. The children had to design their marble maze and think about the most suitable equipment to use before making it. Once the children had made their marble runs they were able to test them out and use each other’s. At the end the children had to decide if they would change their design as some of them had made their designs too complicated whereas some children’s were too easy!

Year 3

Year 3 had loads of fun taking part in our STEM day!

First, we made some rocket mice! We each made our own mouse and investigated different ways to make it fly like a rocket using different sized bottles. We learned about forces. We found out that the bigger the force the further the mouse went. Some of us thought the large milk carton worked the best because it was bigger and had more air in it. Some of us thought the small water bottles were better because the plastic that was thinner. The rest of us thought that the large coke bottles were the best because they had more air in and their shape made the air come out in a different way!

After break, we challenged ourselves to move an object without touching it using force. We came up with lots of ideas like blowing an object, sliding it and using gravity. We realised that we could use the force of a magnet to move an object without touching it. We then tested some different materials to make magnetic mazes. For our base, we decided that something strong and smooth would be best to move our objects around. We decided as a class that a piece of card, a paper plate, tables, trays or a white board were the best things to use!

In the afternoon, we turned into explorers and used a design specification to plan and build a boat. We needed to make a boat that could cross our ocean without us touching it but we were only allowed to use a bottle, some straws, card, tape, scissors, paperclips and a magnet! We used our knowledge of magnets and forces to make it move!

Year 4

Year 4 had a fantastic, thought provoking and exciting day introducing them to their new topic, sound, and allowing them to revisit some of their previous learning about states of matter.

The children took part in three different activities which allowed them to practice a range of skills:

Mr Hardy lead the children in converting a liquid (milk) into a solid as hard as concrete. The children needed to measure their materials accurately, work cooperatively with a partner and carefully follow a set of instructions to make their “rocks”. They were absolutely fascinated to see the change of state they produced.

With Dr Francis, the children’s focus was on making predictions and then testing their ideas. The children were shown three balloons which each made a different sound and, using their skills of observation and background knowledge, they made predictions about what was inside each balloon. Following on, they made predictions about the volume of sound other objects would make then tested their ideas using dataloggers to measure the volume of sound they produced.

With Mrs Bowes-Mulligan, the Year 4s became budding engineers as they constructed machines to show how sound waves travel. They worked really hard, using their maths skills to measure accurately to position the different parts of the machine correctly and were so proud of themselves when they could see how well their devices worked.

What a great learning day we had and everyone is already looking forward to the next one!

Year 5

Year 5 took part enjoyed several science investigations including:
1. What happens when you dissolve skittles in water?
2. Can you make flubber out of flour and lotion?
3. Can you create a lava lamp out of kitchen ingredients?
4. What combinations of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar do you need to make the biggest volcanic explosion?

This developed our understanding of materials and their properties. We made predictions by thinking scientifically about the ingredients involved. We discussed key terms and explored new vocabulary to enhance our learning.

‘My favourite was making flubber. Solid + liquid = a new type of solid with elasticity (today was the best!)’ George VH5.

Year 6

On Friday 10th November, Year 6 enjoyed an exciting afternoon of STEM activities.

The children rotated around the three classrooms and enjoyed stretching their scientific skills!

Mrs Smith’s class explored the power of air and the groups built balloon rockets. The children were given baskets of equipment from which they had to work as team to use a basic diagram to build their rockets. There was lots of scientific discussion about the best way to attach the balloons. Once the teams had built their rockets, their challenge was to investigate how they could get their rockets to travel the furthest. There was lots of discussion and lots of trial and error!

Mrs Williams’ class investigated chromatography. The class learnt about how chromatography is used in industry and forensic science. The children then they carried out their own investigations where they separated out the colours of felt tip pens. The class learned that one colour can be made up of many different dyes.

Miss Connors’ class investigated density using oil and ice cubes. Children made predictions based on their knowledge of the properties of materials and observed an oil and ice mixture change over time as the materials responded to one another. Each class discussed variants of the experiments, such as beaker shape or size, amount of oil or ice and children’s ‘enthusiasm’ when stirring the mixtures.

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