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Becoming creators, thinkers, problem solvers and innovators

Published Monday 11th of March 2019 04:06:48 PM

The STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are all areas of learning that children need to be comfortable with to excel in the future. But STEM education is far more than just ‘lumping’ these subject titles together - it’s a philosophy of education that embraces teaching skills in a way that resembles real life. Head of Science, Mrs Simmons, was keen to get our Year 6 pupils embracing STEM and becoming creators, thinkers, problem solvers and innovators. She devised a programme of study to get the children to apply their learning from the four disciplines to address world issues. In week one, the children looked at what ‘STEM’ is and why we should study it. They developed their understanding of some of the issues facing the world through a study of the text ‘If the World Were a Village'. In the second week they studied problems facing survivors following natural disasters and discussed some of the ways in which engineers can help. A variety of skills were employed to determine how many people might be offered emergency shelter in the Sports Hall following a serious flood. What would you pack from your house if you had only 5 minutes? The following week the children constructed model shelters, investigating features including size, design and material. This was then scaled up to create larger newspaper shelters. Next, Year 6 looked at world access to a safe, clean water supply. Realising that the average person in the UK uses approximately 150 litres of water per day made the children consider the impact on daily life of not having such easy access and how we might reduce unnecessary wastage of water. They investigated methods of cleaning water and created their own water filters. They were introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Chair of Governors visited to find the children busy designing and constructing kites. Much fun was had testing out their creations on the field to see if they had correctly achieved the perfect aerodynamic properties. To bring the first half-term to a close attention turned to world access to power. How would we cope without a reliable source of electricity? What are the renewable and non-renewable sources of power? STEM lessons have buzzed with enthusiasm, curiosity, perseverance, creativity, critical thinking and teamwork. A key feature throughout has been the need to employ a ‘Growth Mindset’ and learning from what didn’t work as much as what did. Future sessions will look at solar power, transportation, recycling and plastic pollution. During British Science Week the children will design and construct elastic and wind-powered vehicles, linking with the national theme of Journeys.
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