Due to the increased interest by the children in STEM activities a 7 week afterschool STEM club was established. Twenty four first class children participated in lots of STEM activities on Tuesdays for 7 weeks. They engaged in 3 weeks of Scratch Jr Coding. The children were really engaged with the tasks and enjoyed using the Scratch Jr cards that provided them with the step by step instructions to make the movements happen. The children were then able to transfer the skills and instructions to make their own coding programs.
During the remaining 4 weeks the children investigated sinking and floating of different fruits with their skin on and their skin off. The children made predictions first and then carried out the experiment. They recorded the outcome and tried to figure out the science behind it. The lemon floated with the skin on it and sank when the skin was removed…do you know why? The skin of the lemon is relatively thick and has air pockets throughout it thus making the lemon more buoyant when the skin is still intact.
Another task that the children engaged with came from the Engineer’s week pack and it was about designing Earthquake proof structures – Earthquake Proof Structures
This took a little time and was worked over two weeks so that the children could come up with a design, try it out, re-evaluate and change their design to try and come up with a sturdier structure. The children had lots of fun looking at the different strategies and techniques they each were using. The following day some of the children explained to their class mates what the task was and how they approached building the structure. They had lots of fun shaking the jelly to simulate an earthquake!!!
The final hands-on task was making an electromagnet using a nail. The children used a nail, copper wire, masking tape and a battery to create a current from the battery to the nail. As a result the nail became magnetised. The children then tried to pick up pins with the electromagnet. They found that the more wire that was wrapped around the nail made the electromagnet stronger. They also had to make sure that the wire was tightly wrapped around the nail in order for it to be most effective. The children had great fun trying to see whose electromagnet was strongest by seeing how many pins they could lift!!
It was a very enjoyable 7 weeks and we were meant to show some of these activities at our STEM Showcase which was scheduled for March 27th.