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Our 'Extreme Exposure' Wow Day at NAISNY

10 October 2019

Our school is proud of its collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The collaboration takes a real-life hands-on approach to teaching STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Periodically, our students are challenged by MIT experts to participate in innovative and engaging projects. Last week’s challenge was “Extreme Exposure”. The challenge was to investigate an extreme environment and work out how a camera could film/take pictures there. How could a camera be adapted for that extreme environment?

After a day of research, collaboration, testing, reassessment and construction, what did they come up with?

  • Intrepid Form
  • Empire Form
  • Empire Form
  • Empire Form
  • Intrepid Form
  • Liberty Form
  • Liberty Form
  • Nursery Class
  • Nursery Class
  • Reception Class
  • Year 1
  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Years 3 & 4
  • Years 3 & 4
  • The 2s Butterflies Blue
  • The 2s Butterflies Blue
  • The 2s Butterflies Blue
  • The 2s Butterflies Red
  • The 2s Butterflies Red

Upper School


Empire Form


Empire Form decided to look at the extreme environments found in the Arctic and Antarctica. They looked at the benefits of studying wildlife with habitats in extreme conditions. How was footage about wildlife living in those areas captured?


The students researched, designed and created a camera that could survive the conditions in the Arctic and Antarctica.  They were split into three teams and asked to come up with a design for the camera and think about the different ways they could overcome challenges.  They considered issues such as preventing cables from becoming brittle and condensation affecting their camera lens.


Intrepid Form


Intrepid form each chose an extreme environment and adapted the camera for that environment.


Ideas included creating a tripod which would work in the sandy desert and would also be able to self-clean sand off the camera.Other students created a robot to move the camera and monitor the temperature of volcanoes without burning or melting. 


Liberty Form


Liberty Form continued on their quest for a better future by concentrating on ways to record and find out more about the effects of climate change by using cameras built for extreme environments. They decided they would focus on UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 "Life Below Water" and develop camera casing which would allow their devices to safely photograph micro plastics, coral bleaching and oil spills. They experimented with a range of waterproof materials, differently weighted objects and self-pressing devices for the camera buttons.


Lower School


Nursery Class


In Nursery, they chose the Jurassic period as their extreme environment. They looked at lots of different dinosaurs and compared their size.  Then the children thought about how they could take pictures of dinosaurs up close and how they could protect a camera if a dinosaur stood on it.  They used a variety of materials to make boxes that the camera could sit inside and then placed a heavy weight on top of it to see whether it could hold the weight of a dinosaur.  Only the wooden blocks stayed standing, so they decided that wood would be the best material to use to build a case for the camera.


Reception Class


In Reception, the children were very enthusiastic about their MIT Wow Day activities. The children have recently been interested in building tall structures with construction toys so we tapped into this by started by showing the children a time-lapse video of the construction of One World Trade Center. We discussed how New York City is an extreme environment due to its limited space and very tall buildings.  We looked at Mr. Reardon’s GoPro adjustable tripod and were challenged, in teams, to design and build our own version of a camera support /holder to film a time-lapse of us building our skyscrapers.  


Year 1


Year 1 chose fire as the extreme environment for their challenge.  They wanted to find a way to help firefighters see the hazards in a fire before they go in so they can prepare. They designed a robot that can travel into a fire zone and take a picture.


Year 2


Year 2 have been studying pirates this term and so they joined the MIT challenge with their pirate topic.  They designed a camera case for Peggy Leggy the pirate so she could take pictures of the animals she sees on her sea voyages. They wanted to make their cases waterproof, so they tested different materials to find the best one. They also wanted their case to be able float, so they picked a flat shape with lots of surface area.  They were able to use information learned in recent math and science lessons to help them with this MIT challenge.


Years 3 & 4


Years 3 and 4 explored the extreme environment of planet Mars for their MIT WOW day challenge. The students worked collaboratively to sketch and create models to help them consider what the surface of Mars looks like. They then designed robot cameras that could be sent to Mars to take pictures of the environment. Some groups even tried design prototypes of their robot camera.


Students also looked at Topographical data of Mars and tried to understand the effects of pressure on humans who want to live there in the future.


Even our youngest students got involved in the Extreme Exposure Challenge…


The 2s Butterflies


The 2s butterflies blue class looked at the Savanna and they used binoculars instead of cameras.  They talked about the different animals found in the savanna and they read books to learn about this environment. They made binoculars and camouflage safari vests out of recycled materials and went on a lion hunt in the playroom. They went through the tall grass (fake trees), the river (water in the tub), the mud (brown shredded paper), and found a lion at the end of the cave!



The 2s Red Butterfly Class


The 2s Red Butterfly Class used magnifying sheets to take pictures of things that they could find in the desert.   They used the close-up pictures that they had taken to help them choose materials and resources to make an extreme environment display of the desert. They learned lots of new words to describe textures, animals and plants in the desert.