In week 2 of S.T.E.M. we were all about customization. We thought about how we could re-design or add to our lunchboxes so they’d be better. To do this we had to embrace design principles and think about:
What our components were going to be used for
How they were going to be used
Who was going to use them
What would happen when you are finished with them – impact on the environment.
Our Learning Intention this week was:
To understand how to use creative thinking to change useful things in our lives.
Our Success Criteria was:
I can think of a better way for my lunchbox to work that suits my needs.
I can explain how my design works better than what my lunchbox currently does.
Some of the designed that came up were fantastic. These included carrot stick holders, backpacks that could liquefy food, combined drink bottles and lunchboxes, as well as a ultimate lunchbox that held keys, money, hand sanitizer and food. Have a look at some of the great designs below:
A soft cloth lunchbox that won’t impact the planet when it breaks down.
A drawer based lunchbox compartmentalized into the different zones of food.
A lunchbox that is protected with foam padding so it doesn’t break when it falls.
First week back of S.T.E.M. and we got stuck straight into it. After finding out the theme for the term – “Let’s Fix It”, we discussed problems and solutions. We identified what we needed to think about when solving problems. In addition we chatted about how solutions could be more effective when we designed them for a purpose. Overall we worked out that good solutions are easy to do and can be done by everyone. To help us understand this we looked at the solution Zoos Victoria had to the migration of Bogong Moths. We learned that simply turning off our lights outside can help save our endangered Mountain Pigmy Possums. The older students then thought about other ways we could help and came up with creative answers. The younger students go stuck into making a moth or possum with some fantastic ones being developed check them out below:
Check out some of the coding activities we do HERE.
Have a great break, come back refreshed and ready to learn! Check out the S.T.E.M. RESOURCES if you haven’t already to keep you going with S.T.E.M. activities and videos over the holidays!
In our second last week we embraced the wonders of Plovers. What are they? Well they’re a group of bird which are endangered in Australia. You’ll find them on the beaches, in suburbia and all around Australia. We learned all about them because Plover Appreciation Day is on Monday the 16th! Then we created some fantastic displays on how we could help them. Our thinking focus was to think creatively about different ways to get our message across about these wonderful birds. Have a look at our designs below!
We learned about one of the most common myths we’ve got in our world – the 5 second rule. To test this we dropped buttons onto flour and worked out if they did or did not stick to the flour within 5 seconds. This was our guide on whether or not the 5 second rule was a thing. After that we had a play with different times the button spent in the flour and noticed whether or not the button would collect more or less. We also tested how well the flour had stuck to the button after it was dipped in water too. After all our experimenting we discussed whether our test was actually enough to prove the 5 second rule. We decided it wasn’t because it wasn’t testing real bacteria or real food. So we had a look at a podcast where real scientists had run the experiment and presented their results. Check out our experiment photos and the podcast below!
Week 7 we used the force – or at least learned about what it is. We worked out that to stop a force you need another in the other direction to negate it. We then used that knowledge to create vehicles that would stop using brakes we’d developed. To do this we had to think about how existing brakes work, using the power of friction and then applied this to our own knowledge of forces. As an extra challenge the students had to think about how their vehicles could work to prevent damage to the environment and animals as well. We came up with some cool inventions that were super innovative and thoughtful. For inspiration we checked out a video on how to build a CD car, which you can do at home!
Last week we checked out what animals are thinking by getting stuck into scientific surveys. We used animal behaviour to explain what an animal is thinking by attributing thought patterns to behavioural cues. To do this we looked at what animals were doing at particular times and recorded their actions with drawings or descriptions. We also watched a video on whether goldfish actually have a 3 second memory or not. Turns out they are as smart as some small mammals! After we came back from our observations we discussed our guesses as to what the animals were thinking and practiced rationalizing those answers. Then we indulged in a cool video about how leaf cutter ants are able to farm fungus. The older students then heard a story of two arctic explorers who took on the challenge of getting to the north pole using only clean energy: check it out HERE
This week was all about food webs. What they are, how they work and some of the conventions around them. We learned about what keystone species is and how they are super important. The animals we looked at were wolves, elephants, and parrotfish and how if they were removed from the environment the whole ecosystem would be impacted. The students then made food webs of their own, with the younger students creating them using a template of an existing food web and the older students creating one on power point. To do this we re-freshed ourselves on the importance of saving with correct file names and had a look at how to use images that weren’t flagged under copyright.
In week 4 we looked at our oceans and how they are heating up. With the older students we had a think about what makes a great experiment. To do that we had a think on how to compare fresh water and salt water. We then watched a video on an experiment boiling the two liquids and testing to see the differences between the two substances. After that we wrote up a scientific report on the experiment. Once they’d done that they designed things to help mitigate the impacts of global warming by researching how it occurs and creating it on Tinkercad.
The younger students had a go at designing and making some devices that would help stop the warming of our oceans. They came up with some fantastic ideas including freeze guns, water insulators and boats that carry ice to and from various locations. Have a look at them below:
In week 3 we looked at the joys of insulation. What it is, how it works and how we might design something that uses insulation. We did an experiment which involved testing various materials for their ability to insulate and worked out which one out of three different materials insulated the best. We had a think what makes a effective experiment and the problems with our study. After that, we designed a device that utilized insulation to make something energy efficient and had a think about an invention relevant to our lives.