Elson Road, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 9EU

What an exciting start to STEM week

RAF Shawbury ensured that we had an exciting start to our STEM week when two RAF pilots landed a Juno helicopter on our school field.  We were able to watch it land and take off, have a look around inside it inside it and talk to the pilots.  Back in Nursery some children made their own helicopters!

STEM in Nursery

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is an integral part of our every day provision in Early Years.  Young children are born with an innate curiosity and drive to understand the world around them.  Through their play they can be observed experimenting, finding out how things work, testing and adapting their ideas, finding patterns in what they already know and solving problems.  In a well-resourced learning environment where adults support and enhance children’s explorations and experiences, talk with them, wonder, encourage and extend their thinking, they are encouraged to develop many  positive dispositions to learning – curiosity, asking questions, observing, explaining, reasoning, testing, finding out how things work,  adapting, inventing, applying what they already know,  representing, replicating, predicting, making connections and theories.   This is the language of STEM.

Although this is our daily ‘bread and butter’ in our Nursery, this week we have focused on a particular STEM activity each day as well as keeping in mind our story, Little Red Riding Hood.   Look what we have been doing!

Baking – developing our mathematical and scientific knowledge

We baked some cakes for Little Red Riding Hood to take to her Granny.  We weighed all the ingredients by making sure they all balanced with the eggs.  We talked about the ingredients and how they changed when they were all mixed together.  There was much ‘cake watching’ as they baked in the oven!

A basket for Little Red Riding Hood – design and maths

Little Red Riding  Hood had lost her basket.  We had to design and make her a new one to carry some fruit to Grandma’s.  We used recycled materials to make the baskets.  It was tricky to attach the handles and our baskets kept tipping out the fruit!  After lots of experimenting the children found out that they could balance the fruit in the baskets with equal amounts each side – just like balancing the scales in our cooking activity.  Some children made ‘pretend’ cakes and added them to their baskets.

Help Red Riding Hood to speed through the wood – construction, design and ‘simple’ engineering!

We decided that Little Red Riding Hood needed to get through the wood more safely and much faster than the wolf.  The children were given a challenge to make something which would help her.  Using the Nursery construction kits – Lego, Mobilo, Sticklebricks – they designed cars, scooters, trucks, aeroplanes and even a skateboard!  Super designing, Nursery boys and girls!

Technology – Bee-bots (programming and algorithms!)

This week the children were introduced to our Bee-bots – small floor robots which can be programmed to travel various distances and in different directions.  The children loved these.  Now that the children have practised their programming skills, next week we will challenge them to collect various items as they program the Bee-bots to travel through a floor map of the wood on the way to Grandma’s house!

Stop the Wolf! Design and engineering!

Our last STEM challenge was to build a 3D story map of Red Riding Hood’s journey through the wood to Grandma’s.  The children had to solve a range of problems such as helping Red  Riding Hood to cross a river and a lake and to make traps for the Wolf to slow him down and stop him catching her.  They used a whole range of ‘loose parts’ and construction resources  to represent trees, mountains, stepping stones, bridges, pathways and made a ‘web’ trap to stop the wolf.  Some children used sticks to build a campfire – “we are going to put him in the hot water!”