The buzz of excitement around the school was immense and I think it’s safe to say that students and teachers alike all had a wonderful start to Term 3.2. Linked to the work of three real MIT professors, our students worked on a range of tasks which challenged them to work creatively, collaboratively and carefully, generating some very innovative ideas - we definitely have some designers of the future in our midst…
The principles of STEAM are embedded into learning in the Foundation Stage where the children follow their interests everyday to try, tests and make all sorts of things. Following the whole school theme the children upcycled old T-shirts into superhero capes and masks which are still favourites in the dressing up box and make the tools needed to be a successful superhero such as shields and swords.
In Year 1, the children focused upon Ms Emma’s poorly thumb, thinking about inventions which would make her life easier. Some groups concentrated on making her sling more dynamic by adding colour and pockets for her phone, water bottle and other everyday necessities, whilst others helped her walk the dog or eat by creating self-twiddling spoons for spaghetti and scooping the soup to aid her one-handed.
In Year 2, the children found out about the super qualities of different minibeasts and insects. Using their new found knowledge they went on to create super-beasts combining features and adaptations which they thought were useful.
In Year 3, the children researched adaptations of different animals, for example, finding out which ones were good at living in cold conditions and which had amazing eyesight, which could traverse rough or difficult terrain and which could lift heavy objects. Inspired by these super qualities, half of the year group went on to design and make products based upon animal skills for example camouflage shoes, hats which would light the way on a dark night and warm clothing for Arctic winters. The other half of the year group went on to create their own superheroes using an amalgamation of knowledge about different animal traits. They created their models out of modroc.
Year 4 embraced all three professors’ work, combining classes to look at animal adaptation, creating devices based upon animal characteristics, such as wings inspired by peregrine falcons, and thinking about how best to help people and enhance their lives. They produced some wonderful designs, made and refined some good models and then used some of their coding skills to enhance their products further.
In Year 5, the students were given a range of character profiles to work with. These ranged from a blind student leaving home to study who was worried about cooking independently to deaf parents who couldn’t hear their baby cry, to an elderly woman suffering from arthritis who was struggling to care for her dog. The children had to discuss the problems and dangers these people faced, research existing products available to help such people, discuss the pros and cons of each of these and then try and invent their own devices to help.
This week, Year 6 are going to High School to take part in Project Week. Here they will have the opportunity to work on “real-life problems”, generating solutions to help change our world - look out for more details next week.
Last week’s STEAM week was not only a lot of fun, but it enabled our children to not only learn a little more about animal traits, characteristics and adaptations, but also how to work as a team. Discussion, prioritising, compromising, delegating, meeting deadlines are all important skills which are often taken for granted, but through STEAM projects such as these, we hope to embed these 21 century skills to better equip and prepare our students for their future.
Look out for more STEAM projects coming soon…