STEM Integration Work
The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are embedded at Baler Primary School by all classes utilising a cross-curricular approach and often incorporate English and the Arts learning areas as well. Teachers do this by creating project based learning tasks that provide opportunities to foster critical and creative thinking skills in real life scenarios, thereby exploring STEM learning areas and concepts. The combination of these subjects deepens students’ understanding and often creates palpable enthusiasm for the project work they are engaged in.
In collaboration with our Talk 4 Writing theme of dinosaurs, we participated in a Floating Dinosaur Rescue. The purpose of this activity was to test students’ ability to think critically about the problem and use their knowledge of STEM to recover the dinosaur toy without touching it. We learned about making a hypothesis and what might happen. We then took turns putting rocks into the water to observe what happened to the water level and how to ultimately rescue our dinosaur.
It was a lot of fun using our inquiry skills to save our dinosaurs.
In Term 2, the Pre-primary’s took a keen interest in dinosaurs. We used our Talk for Writing text 10 Little Dinosaurs to explore the world of dinosaurs and tried to solve the problem:
‘What if a dinosaur really did lose their mum?’ The Pre-primary’s worked hard to create maps and program BeeBots to help the little dinosaurs find their mum. This was an amazing unit that allowed the Pre-primary’s to not only research dinosaurs, but to solve a problem using coding, technology and team work.
In Talk for Writing, we have integrated our Poetry unit “The Day the Zoo Escaped” with our STEM project. We decided to build a Lego-Maze for our animals to escape from the zoo and into the Wild.
The students had discussions on how the animals would escape, questions were formed and some great suggestions and ideas were generated. The students discussed, where the animals needed to go? How they would travel? By ocean or air? Did they have go to the airport? It was very interesting.
The students then decided on the buildings they would create for their little Lego city and at the end they had to decide whether they were going to build an airport or a Port.
In Semester One the Year Three classes designed, made and appraised cages they made to keep a dragon. Please click on the hyperlinked title below for the complete project including photos of their clever cages.
This year the Year 4 students have been developing their coding skills using the Ozobot. The Ozobot is an amazing device, where using marker colours, it identifies the different coded colour patterns to perform certain manoeuvres such as line jumping, altering speeds, changing direction and doing cool moves. The students were then challenged to design a ship that would sit on top of the Ozobot to map the First Fleets Journey!
In Term 1, the Year 5’s were looking at all things Australian. We learnt about the First European Settlers and we researched about some of the immigrants that moved to Australia during the 1800’s. Many of the early settlers in Australia never had the convenience of ovens and some may have cooked outside. We learnt about the use of the sun for cooking in a solar oven. For our STEM project, we experimented and then created our own solar ovens, which we tested by baking chocolate chip cookies.
Exploring an English Talk for Writing topic, students were required to create a bridge out of natural and recycled resources to avoid the ancient terror that stalks the deep dark waters and make it to the other side of the river safely.
Background and guidelines:
Slowly, I approach the river. Once swift and coursing, now stagnant and foreboding. The waterfall, once the giver of life, now dead and still. Only the slime keeping the large and hefty stones company through the endless nights.
They speak of an ancient terror. One that stalks the deep dark waters. Something. Somewhere. Waiting.
Not even the trees gently waving in the breeze can take away the ominous feeling. I know they are only there to lull visitors into a false sense of safety. They beckon you ever closer.
Despite this, my only salvation lays across this water. And so I must find a way to cross…
Students were required to cross the river and make it to the other side to safety. There were some strict guidelines students had to follow including:
- There is only one way that will be accepted- you must build a bridge.
- The bridge must be made of natural materials (sticks, leaves, vine, etc).
- There will only be one man made material available for use in your bridge- rope or twine.
- Scissors, rulers, and iPads are only to be used to help you plan and/or construct- they cannot be used as part of your structure.
- Your bridge must be able to support the weight of a … so it must be wide enough to be able to fit and balance the …
- Your bridge must be long enough to cross the river but still fit within the box setting.
- Your bridge needs to have character and thought. A couple of sticks tied together will not be accepted.
- Time limit: 90 minutes construction time.