In education, STEM is an acronym for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM combines the four subjects in an applied approach, considering real-world applications, so as to better equip students for their future careers. The pupils develop the skills, abilities and learning dispositions required for success.
For this year’s STEM Day, the Year 3 children were Roman Engineers with the challenge of designing and constructing an aqueduct. Their day started with an introduction to what an aqueduct is and what function they serve. The children learnt that aqueducts use the force of gravity to move the water downwards. The key is to maintain a steady gradient or slope. If the slope is too steep, the water will splash out and flood the city. If the slope is too shallow the water will not make it into the city, and the residents will experience a drought. The children worked collaboratively in their engineering teams to design their aqueduct on paper. Then, using corrugated card ‘channels’ and ‘pillars’, the aqueducts were constructed and tested using ping pong balls. Refinements and improvements were made. The next step was to make the channels water-resistant by coating each with bin bags. Finally, each construction was carried outside and it was time to bring on the water! Through creative problem solving and teamwork the aqueducts were deemed successful and the cities were supplied with water. Following reflection and evaluation, each group made suggestions for how the aqueducts might be improved if only there was more time!
The whole day was incredibly exciting and the children had a very enjoyable experience. They have developed fundamental knowledge and skills with an appreciation and understanding of the critical importance of STEM subjects.