Tell me, I forget.
Show me, I remember.
Involve me, I understand.
— Chinese Proverb
What is STEM? Why STEM day?
You may have had your children coming home talking about STEM day . Minet Infant and Nursey School celebrated STEM day. You may have wondered what is STEM day? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. It supports problem solving, creativity, critical analysis, teamwork, independent thinking, Initiative, communication and digital literacy. According to the BBC More or Less programme it had been said that 65 per cent of future jobs have not yet been invented. As Minet strives to raise aspiration it is only fitting to prepare our pupils for the future.
On the 26th June 2018, Minet Infant was immersed in STEM Day each year group ran various activities of Science, Computing and Design Technology activities, with a focus on practical, child-led learning. In KS1, activities ranged from changing liquid into a solid by making butter to being future News readers using the green screen. Early Years explored the making of colourful explosions and navigating their remote control cars around the assault course.
Children were encouraged to speculate on the reasons why things happen or how things work. They learnt how to coordinate their actions whilst using technology, by using the remote control to direct their cars around the assault course.
In Reception creativity exploded when they found out they will be creating their own movie. They were inspired by their loved character Mr Potato Head and discussed what should happen in their movie. After careful planning they were able to use the animation technique in which you physically manipulate an object to make it appear that it is moving on its own. Stop motion movies are created by having an object move in small increments between individual photographs. When these photographs are stitched together in a quicker sequence, it appears that the object is moving.
Science is the study of facts. At the same time, science is also about discovering the world around us, of knowing things, and having new and wonderful idea. For fostering scientific learning in early childhood, active, hands-on learning is very important. And this can best be achieved through science experiments.
The children in nursery were experimenting with chemical reactions using different food substances such as coffee. They were amazed by how a simple ingredient like coffee can cause a reaction when mixed other ingredients.
The children in reception were busy little bees exploring their senses. They made moon dough using corn flour and coconut conditioner and in small groups discussed the texture and scent they created. They used large magnifying sheets and went sightseeing in the outdoor leaning area. They also observed how raisins reacted when dropped into lemonade.
What’s great about STEM day?
We use STEM day to break-out of the standard format of a lesson;
- Child-led enquiries
- Questioning by the adults to steer and guide the enquiries
- Does not have to be topic based
- Lots of resources available
- NO WRITTEN WORK necessary
- Photograph, video, pupil voice can be used as evidence
What do we do during STEM day?
- Stop motion movies using the IPADS; easy to use with reception and key stage 1
- Green screen: fun and very engaging
- You can make a maze using masking tape
- Encourage children to use positional language to get from start to finish.
- Suitable for reception and key stage 1