First published at Saturday, February 23 2019
I have been working closely with our local primary school to set up a STEM Club for the Yr 1 - 3 students.
Originally it was to be Friday lunchtime Stem Club however due to the popularity we had to split it into 2 groups of 20 over two days.
I have done small group projects with some of these children including Makedo grippers, box animals, paper circuits and LittleBits.
The activities we have done this term have been:
InnoBits (Similar to LittleBits). - These are great little modules which click together and children can create circuits.
Makedo - These are plastic screws which the children can use to make cardboard constructions. I've been giving the children a challenge of 'making a box that only you know the secret way to get into'. Some children have tried this task....others are happy to just create their own projects...we have had a lot of Dragons and Cats from the Yr 1 students.
Turing Tumble - This is a marble computer. It has a fantastic book that comes with it. It teaches logic and also binary and has fantastic puzzles to solve. Only a few of the children have referred to the book whereas most have at least spent a lunchtime working on making different things happen.
Photon Robot - We had 2 of these robots running on 2 ipads. I had imagined that the kids would use these together...but it has turned out that it tends only to be 1 child to 1 robot. I start by showing the children how to do the 'expert' programming which has "if ....else" & "repeat" statements. Some children stick with that....whereas others will navigate out and use it more like a remote-controlled car (with a few extra bits). Next term I plan to have an older student (Yr5) to show the younger kids some of the cool things the robots can do and give them little puzzles to solve.
3D pens - These have been very popular - I printed (on paper) insects & flowers that the children could trace over and make their own version of. These pens are a bit temperamental and can be a bit of a pain to get started if they run out of filament.
We did 1 week of paper circuits - These were very fiddly and probably better for older kids as there is a lot of taking backing paper off copper tape which needs nimble fingers....and then a bit of problem-solving to get the lights to come on. Some children got it ....but for others, it was a bit too hard and require a lot of my time to help.
We did 1 week of ShaKey - This acts as an 'input' for your computer and you can create keys presses out of anything. The idea was to test conductors vs insulators. The Yr 1s did a great job with this....the older kids moved on quickly. This need more explanation that I had time to give so might work better if I am not needed so much for the other activities.
Finally we have the Augment Reality Sandpit - this is very popular with the little kids. It is hard when 6 of them want to be on it at the same time, so I am going to come in early each week so some of the kids can have turns in smaller groups.