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"Connections" STEM Day

On Monday 13th March, we held our whole school "Connections" STEM Day which was fantastic.

Children and adults commented on what a great day it was, packed full of varied and creative learning opportunities to enthuse children in the STEM subjects.

Around the school there was an air of excitement and sense of purpose as children participated in a carousel of activities. Early Years and Key Stage 1 had 3 workshops to attend in the morning. In one, children were set the challenge to build the Billy Goats Gruff a new bridge, meeting strict design criteria. In the maths workshop, they played number bingo, went on shape hunts and raced dinosaurs, putting their fabulous maths skills to work. Before lunch, they attended a nature connection workshop in which they made mini books looking at the journey of broccoli from seed to plate; connected with nature creating natural mandalas designs outside and explored food chains and connections between living things in nature.

In the afternoon, the children had an opportunity to visit the Discovery Zone where they were encouraged to play, explore and learn at various stations.

Key Stage 2 travelled to their workshops and worked in house groups enabling mixed age groups to come together to support each other as they learned together in a carousel of workshops:

1) The school of Aviation - explored the history of flight, how ideas have changed over time, built and tested hoop gliders and then looked at STEM careers in aviation.

2) The school of Maths - looked at Pi and circles. We learnt about the relationship between the diameter of a circle and its circumference, found out how clever the Ancient Egyptians were and that not only did Archimedes invent the Archimedes screw but that he found Pi to be 3.14.

3) The school of Biology - looking at connections in the brain, optical illusions and we built a pipe cleaner neuron each to take home. We learnt about advances in technology to scan bodies and discovered many interesting facts about the brain and how to look after it.

4) The "Connections" Discovery Zone - here the children were invited to participate in self-guided learning at various stations set up for independent exploration e.g. electrical circuit building, tallest k-nex tower challenge, bridge building kits, marble runs and timers, magnetism and paper clip chain challenges, food chains and connecting animals to habitats.

We wanted children to recognise how we are all connected to St John's by placing stickers on a map of Sevenoaks to show where we live and how each of us are connected to school. We did a survey of how we travelled to school, constructed maths tangrams, played dominoes, and solved maths puzzles and challenges etc.

The STEM homework we set last week has been amazing in the variety of interests researched and presented. Thank you to everyone who has submitted a poster for the Connections competition and an enormous thank you to the families who have sent in videos of their "Rube Goldberg" chain reactions and/ or marble runs. This has been a highlight for me, seeing the whole family getting involved together to create these. I know there were most likely many "takes" filming and lots and lots of clearing up afterwards, but the results are outstanding. I look forward to announcing the winners in due course.

All in all, a fabulously fun, connection- filled day with plenty of learning!


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