Autumn 2019 STEM Day

Our STEM Day this November had the main theme of ‘Farmvention.’ This is to look into the future of farming in a changing world. Each year group chose a theme from one of the three categories: ‘Wool the Wonder Fabric,’ ‘Street Food Superstars’ and ‘Farm Machine: 2040. 

Reception-

In reception we looked at farm machinery and talked about what different machines are used for. We looked at the different parts of farm machinery and talked about which job they each did. The children then discussed what they thought would be a good idea for a farm machine to do on a farm with their learning partner, and then used junk modelling to create their own farm machines.

Year 1-

Year 1 completed a challenge from the Farmvention Website. They had to design an item of clothing made from wool. First we talked about where wool come from and the processes it went through before it was made into anything. We also talked about the qualities of wool being a warm material and the types of clothing we needed to be warm and the disadvantage that it is not waterproof. The children then designed an item of clothing that they thought would be good made from wool. Later on we looked at advertisements for clothing and talked about the important features of an advert. The children then made their own posters to advertise their clothing design.

Year 2-

We completed the Farmvention challenge of designing your own street food. The children went on a hunt in the year 2 corridor to find out facts about different food groups using ‘talk time’ cards (which gave them facts). They used this information to design their own street food and discussed the nutritional benefits. The children then created advertisement posters and presented them to the year group. There was an extra challenge to make their street food at home and it was fantastic to see the children enjoying this!

Year 3

For STEM day, Year Three entered a competition hosted by NFU Education for a new street food design to promote British produce. Firstly, the children learnt a little about British farming and harvesting. They talked about climate and condition and where our food comes from. We considered the food things that we buy in Tesco and decided to focus our designs on stuffed peppers.

After following a simple recipe to try out stuffing peppers, the children created their own designs with different fillings. Some of these were very adventurous, as we learnt in the final task where children had to market their product by creating an eye-catching poster and a TV or radio advert.

Year 4

At the start of STEM day we posed the question what are we going to be eating in 50 years? One answer was BUGS! We investigated this further by researching the environmental impact of eating bugs, the nutritional value, where they are eaten around the world and any concerns that we thought there might be.

We learned that bugs are eaten around the world by 2.5 billion people living in Asia, Australia and Africa. We also found out bugs are cold blooded, they contain lots of protein and that they take less space to raise than cattle.

After break, we investigated further the nutritional benefits of eating bugs. We created pictograms and bar graphs to present this information. We found out that the Giant Water Beetle has the highest amount of protein in it and the Weevil has the least, only 7g.

In the afternoon, we got creative and designed posters and leaflets to advertise a new product: The Bug Burger! We tried to make our work eye-catching and we tried to include facts that would entice others to try our Bug Burgers!

Here are some of the facts from one leaflet about a Giant Water Beetle Burger:

  • These burgers have 20g of protein – WOW!
  • They are much healthier than pork or beef.
  • Raising insects is much easier than raising cattle and doesn’t take up too much space!
  • This burger is very filling and delicious!
  • It’s better for the environment than normal burgers.
  • It tastes like a normal burger but much healthier.
  • Would you like to try one of these burgers?

Year 5

Year 5 took ‘Farm Machine: 2040’ as our topic for the day. The children knew from the beginning that in the afternoon they would need to design a farm machine fit for use in the year 2040 and be able to present their work as an advert or talk in front of their parents.

First, we looked at different types of farm machinery and brainstormed what we knew about farming. From tractors to pea harvesters, combines to crop sprayers, we looked at all different kinds of vehicles and machines found on farms and then at their mechanisms and workings. The children found out about gears, levers and pulleys before experimenting with force meters and investigating friction.

Year 5 then investigated some of the challenges facing farmers and what machinery would be needed in the future to meet these pressures. How can you farm underground? How about up a rocky mountain or on an urban rooftop? How will climate change and population growth affect the planet and what farmers will need to provide? The children talked about all of these things and then began to design machines to cope with these issues. Three designs each were whittled down to one, with a detailed and annotated explanation of why the machine was suitable for 2040. Then came the challenging bit: explaining our machines to parents and persuading them which one was the best!

Year 6

Wool, the wonder fabric!

In year 6, our challenge was to design a unique clothing product that uses wool, ‘the wonder fabric’. We started the day by learning about the history of sheep farming and how some of its uses have changed over time. We watched a short video that explained the process of sheep shearing and how the wool is transported to the factory to be cleaned and packed.

In order to identify the best material as an insulator for our clothing product, we carried out an investigation to test different materials. Each group was given a different material (cotton, wool, acrylic, polyester, nylon or bamboo) to test to see which was the best insulator. We ensured that our control variables remained the same in each group and measured the temperature at five minute intervals. The results helped us in designing our own clothing products as we were aware of the best insulators.

After carrying out our experiment, it was time to design. We worked together in pairs to create our own designs. We were inspired by mood boards and examples of existing clothing products. When designing, we had to think about the audience and purpose of our products.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to create an advert to promote our clothing product to each other. We used posters to attract the attention of our audience while trying to persuade them to buy our products. We were joined by our parents in the afternoon so that we could share our learning with them. We hope they enjoyed watching our adverts!

Summer 2019 STEM Day

KS2’s Summer STEM Day featuring marvellous Maths!!

For our summer term STEM Day, we focussed on M for maths and the children experienced lots of fun and interesting activities incorporating a variety of maths skills.

Time was the key idea for our Year 3 children. They thought about the different ways that time can be represented and built their own device (a sun dial) to measure time. As well as that, they also investigated time differences around our planet.

In Year 4, the children’s main focus was on food and in particular, how much sugar was “hidden” inside. They did lots of measuring and used bar models to think about ratio. They also used statistics to read and compare information presented in tables.

Our Year 5’s looked at a really wide range of maths skills form pattern seeking (looking at spirals), to measuring and estimating the sizes of very large organisms, and using their statistical knowledge to collect data about a woodlouse’s habitat preferences (do they like it dry and light or dark and damp?).

While in Year 6, they concentrated on problem solving. They used their skills with algebra to decode messages and thought about how these techniques had been used in the past for sending information. They also thought about risk and probability when dealing with money.

Across the Key Stage, the children experienced a fantastic range of maths and realised that, just like science, maths really is all around us in everything we do.

Summer Term Stem Day, Infant site – 23.5.19

Nursery:

As part of our federation STEM day (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) this morning the children heard the story ‘The lighthouse keeper’s lunch.’ We spoke about lighthouses and what they are used for and the children were challenged to build the tallest lighthouse and to place a light on top. We encouraged the children to build their lighthouses as tall as possible and change strategy if their towers fell over; did they need less bricks, more bricks, a different place to build their tower, use different bricks, did they need a bigger base…. The children worked in pairs to create their lighthouses and once they were happy with it they put their light on top. All of the children worked well together and changed strategies; they listened to one another and chose different places to build their models. We counted all of the bricks and announced the winners.

Reception:

The children enjoyed completing problem solving activities about ‘The gingerbread man’. The children made their own gingerbread men, carefully measuring the ingredients and watching the changes that happened when they were cooked. They then thought about how the gingerbread men would cross the river and used their engineering skills to design and make boats. The children tested their boats and discussed their observations. Finally the children set up an enquiry to observe changes over time. The children predicted what could happen when the gingerbread men were put in different liquids (oil, milk and water). The children will carefully observe what happens to the gingerbread men and discuss what they learn.

Year 1 and 2:

The children enjoyed completing different problem solving enquiries in each classroom. The enquiries all involved measuring and engineering.
Enquiry one was to work as a team to engineer the tallest tower using paper. The children measured their towers accurately, recorded the heights and compared which was the tallest.

Enquiry two required the children to construct a strong paper tower and to test the strength using books. The children investigated how much weight their models could hold, recorded their data and compared which type of tower was the strongest. The children discussed what made the cylindrical tower the best at holding the most books.

Enquiry three gave the children the chance to take ownership over their learning and choose their own measurement challenge about length or capacity. The children had a selection of cards with challenges to construct models using different materials and compare the length of the models. The other option was to complete a capacity challenge filling different containers using various implements, making predictions about the capacity of a container or measuring the capacity using alternative units of measure (lego bricks).

It was fantastic to see so many parents join us to celebrate the end of STEM day. The children showed their families each activity and explained what STEM stands for. Three children even made up their own song about STEM day!

If you would like to complete more STEM learning at home see below.

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STEM Day – Autumn Term 2 2018

The theme for our STEM Day across the federation was technology. Every child in our federation worked together on a special day of themed working to expand our STEM skills.

Nursery

The Nursery children enjoyed using the talking postcards for the first time; they recorded animal sounds and asked friends to guess the animal. We also experimented with magnets and found out which items were magnetic, gave instructions to the programmable dragon and made our own telephones with cups and string.

Reception

As part of our STEM day in Reception, we explored the ‘talking postcards.’ We learnt how to record our voices by holding the red button down and then turn it over, hold the black button and play back our recording. We used the postcards to practise our reading and our robot arms. We used letter pebbles to make up words and then recorded ourselves reading the words on the postcards. “I liked listening to them. I could hear people talking”  said Barclay.

Year 1

The children worked around three different activities throughout STEM day. One activity was on the computers linked to the year 1 topic ‘Winter Wonderland’ where the children imported their picture onto a snowman’s body. They were extended by writing a sentence about the snowman. “I liked importing a picture” said Mason.Another activity was using lollipop sticks and blu tac to make 2D and 3D shapes. The children discussed what they had made, including the similarities and differences between the shapes they had made.

The children also investigated how penguins stay waterproof. They coloured in a penguin with a selection of materials including oil pastels, chalk and felt tip pens. Then the children dropped water droplets onto the penguin to see which material was water resistant.

Year 2

Year 2 enjoyed taking part in a variety of different activities across the day. In one activity the children discussed nocturnal animals and used the beebot as a hedgehog that needed to get to shelter. The children had to plan an algorithm to get the beebot through the route. They then tried their algorithm and observed what worked well and what could be improved. “I really liked doing the beebots because I liked making the different routes to go home” said Leo.

Another activity gave the children the opportunity to use their knowledge about nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular animals. The children filmed a stop motion animation video showing the animals that are out at different times of the day. The children worked well in teams to engineer their own sets and colour the animals needed. The children independently recorded their own stop motion animation videos on the Ipads and Kindles. They were so impressed to see their finished animations and self-assessed what they thought went well and what could be even better if they made the animation again. “I like that we made all the pictures move in a video” said Isla.

For our final activity we discussed why we have night and day. The children shared their daily routines and sorted the pictures into day and night activities. After they had completed their sorting they had a vertical relay to record any other activities that they do. This linked well with the children’s recent maths learning where the children became confident at telling the time in 15 minute intervals.

STEM Day – Spring Term 2018

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.