Junior STEAM Week at NHEHS
By Dr Raguz, Junior School Science Leader
With activities ranging from an Arctic Fun Day to space engineering, from investigations of dinosaurs using maths to deep sea exploration, our Junior School girls rose to the many and varied science challenges of our Junior STEAM Week last week.
“Engineering helps us live happier, healthier & more fun lives” was the key message from our guest, Laura, from Inventors & Makers at our STEAM assembly who inspired us with a fun quiz on engineering in everyday life, the skills an engineer uses and also showing us the amazing range of engineering jobs people do, ranging from sports technology to making bath bombs and animation!
Reception had the most brilliant morning exploring the stars and planets in our solar system! The girls were amazed by the night sky and enjoyed the stories associated with the stars.
Alex and William from Explorerdome inspired a new generation of astronauts! Our Year Ones oohed and aahed at the sights of stars and loved listening to fascinating facts about our solar system. Their motivation continued in the afternoon where they showed us how much they had learnt.
To continue with the Deep Sea Exploration theme in Science, Year 1 followed precise instructions to assemble their extendible grabbers. Once satisfied all parts were working properly, the girls worked cooperatively to secure the straw end to the lolly stick struts. Once assembled, the girls took turns testing the limits of what their grabber could grab from the ocean floor. Very heavy objects were beyond the tensile strength of the materials but sponges, plastic pollution objects and teddies were successfully hoisted from the murky depths. There were questions about how to make the grabbers less bendy and stronger. This will be addressed in future engineering projects.
Year 1 also enjoyed an Arctic Fun Day, where they made polar bear masks, an igloo out of marshmallows or sugar cubes, painted Inuit art and conducted experiments on how effective blubber and newspaper are as insulators. (The bottles in the photograph are all dressed differently. One has a bikini on, one a dress, and the third is insulated in a warm jacket and trousers that have been stuffed with newspaper). They were filled with warm water and a thermometer was placed inside them. The girls checked the thermometers at regular intervals to see which bottle held the heat the longest). They had great fun!
STEAM Week in Year 2 has been busy! The girls made lighthouses with working lights to tie in with our topic ‘Dark Nights and Bright Lights’. Using paper mache, they then made a rocky beach scene. When asked about STEAM week, this is what our girls said, “We really enjoyed making the lighthouses and doing the paper mache rocks was great fun!”
During STEAM week, Year 3 used their marine engineering skills to make and design an Egyptian boat. After testing different hull shapes and observing how they behaved on the surface of the water, the girls made their own hulls using art and plastic straws. The next task was to experiment with different material, shape, and size of sail, to see how this would affect the travel of their boats. Once they had finalised their designs, they built and anchored their masts and sails to their boats. They then had the opportunity to test the seaworthiness of their vessels – an amazing week!
Year 4 have been learning about contours on OS maps, and how they relate to the relief of the landscape. They created their own relief map, using layers of cardboard to show the varying heights of the land forms. The girls also worked out contour layers depicting the relief of their knuckles and discovered how surface water would run off a mountain top and effect the topography of the land.
As part of STEAM Week, and to extend their knowledge of space, Year 5 visited the Science Museum this week. The IMAX Hubble 3D experience and exploring the hands-on Wonderlab were particular highlights!
What do you get when you put 5F and 5T classes in groups of 4, give them a motor, controller, power supply, a box of K’nex pieces and challenge them to make a Mars Rover over 2 short sessions?
Only the best characteristics of seasoned engineers! Both classes rose to the challenge. Some assembled the wheels, axel and motor, while their group partners made the frame, antennae, and other features of the rovers. At one stage, 5T sang David Bowie’s Space Odyssey while working on their rovers. This was a truly magical moment that this Science teacher will remember for a very long time!
On Tuesday, some of the Year 6 girls got to take part in a Maths investigation where they learnt about how scientists use a dinosaur’s foot length, estimated hip height and stride to determine whether they were a creature which walked, ran or trotted. They then investigated how this formula could be tested on their own walking and running and whether they felt the estimations used were reasonable and apply to their own stride and pace. They also got to compare themselves to the length of a Diplodocus femur!