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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.