Year 4 have been used the STEM Centre and its resources to enhance the learning they have been completing in their STEM sessions at school; designing sustainable energy solutions for use in developing countries. The processes worked through to enable this, as outlined by a primary teacher:
- I used the online booking form and identified the kit and instructions I wanted out, so all was out ready for us in the morning. The STEM Centre technician also went to the trouble of ensuring the tables were laid out in the arrangement I had asked for (in groups of 4, rather than in rows), so time was not consumed doing this on arrival. The storage boxes for coats and bags were very useful.
- Year 4 used LEGO's Simple Powered Machines kits and the 'Windmill' instructions to make a wind turbine. This is a kit aimed at KS3, however year 4 managed to make, test, adapt and improve the models within a two hour session, with the support of 4 adults - as such, my whole school curriculum map uses resources aimed at KS3 and 4 to ensure appropriate challenge. Some of the more challenging units then also present opportunities to become transition units, where children can be working alongside older pupils from different settings, to support new learning.
- We are able to walk to the STEM centre in around 15 minutes, or shuttle classes of 30 there in 2 mini-bus runs (20 mins).
- The ease of access to resources at the centre and links to the entire instructions and associated planning (LEGO education online), made the time spent there as purposeful as it could be, meaning Year 4 could get so much more completed in the time set, despite the time taken to get to the centre.
- Having the Engineering Habits of Mind poster on the walls of the centre, meant that all adults during the sessions were able to make explicit links to skills and habits required to identify & creatively solve problems, adapt, reflect and improve, within their purposeful discussions with children.
- The design of the centre meant that there was plenty of room for children to move into the experimental area to test their designs. They then evaluated and adpted models in the free-play lego area.
- At 10.30 children were allowed a 10 min break; the ample space available, meant they were able to move around and chat to friends away from the LEGO in the table area and were able to sit comfortably on the seating area provided. All this in a safe environment with minimal safeguarding risk, as all children were in one room.
- As the Technician was on hand to problem-solve as required, this meant he was also able to access additional resources as required; he got the free-play LEGO out, for when year 4 had a break mid-morning but did not want to stop building! This avoided them tinkering with designs from their lesson, in the non-teaching session.
- The STEM centre itself, it's resources and resource management system enables very effective use of time to enhance and develop our curriculum