This term we have introduced STEM to the Y6 curriculum.
What is STEM? STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are all areas of learning that children need to be comfortable with to excel in the future. STEM education is far more than just ‘lumping’ those subject titles together. It’s a philosophy of education that embraces teaching skills in an a way that resembles real life; the application of the learning from the four disciplines to address world issues. STEM makes: creators, thinkers, problem solvers and innovators.
In the first week, we looked at what ‘STEM’ is and why we should study it. The children developed their understanding of some of the issues facing the world through a study of the text ‘If the World Were a Village’. The children were challenged to represent information from the text graphically.
In the second week we studied problems facing survivors following natural disasters and discussed some of the ways in which engineers can help. We applied a variety of skills 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 we constructed model shelters. We investigated features including size, design and material. In the afternoon, we will applied our learning to create larger newspaper shelters.
Next, we looked at world access to a safe, clean water supply. After realising that the average person in the UK uses approximately 150 L of water per day, we considered the impact on daily life of not having such easy access and how we might reduce unnecessary wastage of water. We investigated methods of cleaning water and created our own water filters. We were also introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals.
We designed and constructed kites with a consideration of the forces acting on the kite and the aerodynamic properties.
In the final week before half-term we studied world access to power. Imagine living without a constant reliable source of electricity! We learnt about renewable and non-renewable power sources and then constructed our own wind turbines.
Future sessions this term will look at: solar power, transportation, recycling and plastic pollution. During British Science Week 2019 we will design and construct elastic and wind-powered vehicles, linking with the national theme of Journeys.
Our 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. In Year 6 we are all enjoying our own very special learning journey.