STEM Challenges are a fantastic way of engaging children in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. A model used at Avoch Primary was to mix up the children into different age STEM groups (4 per group). Every month the children would take part in STEM challenges with a teacher leading a different STEM activity. This would rotate each month until the children had completed the 5 different STEM challenges. The children would work together to solve the challenges! It was great fun. The teachers also loved this day of the week!
Comic Relief STEM challenges –
Friday, March 15th
Cornflour Gloop – An old favourite but a great one to make a mess with.
Measure out 15 g of cornflour. 2… Measure out 12 cm3 of water. 3… Add the water to the cornflour and stir.
Share the safe places to live section on the Comic Relief Website Brainstorm the types of materials available and needed, and then design and create shelters which could be used to help refugees.
For a really big mess (and hope for a nice day) play around with Coke and Mentos, or Irn Bru and Angel Delight. You might want to wear old clothes for this one! Experiment with different fizzy drinks—do low sugar ones work as well as full-fat? (The Science behind it? Well, Scientist aren’t quite sure but think that the mentos have a particularly dimpled surface which encourages lots and lots of bubbles to grow really, really quickly. If you want a slower reaction—crush the mentos first! Irn Bru is just a mystery to everyone.
Winter STEM challenge ideas
Design a sledge which will slide the greatest distance down a slope. Materials you might want to use include lollipop sticks or lego.
Build the tallest paper free-standing snowman you can (or perhaps you’d like to try the snowman with the biggest volume?)
Experiment with snow (or fake snow – there are lots of recipes on the internet, or you can you the inside of nappies).
Ask questions such as: how much liquid is in snow? How fast does snow melt? What happens if you mix snow and water? What affects how quickly snow melts? Which group can melt snow the quickest? Which material will insulate a snow man and stop it from melting? How does snow affect ice? I’m sure your pupils will come up with some of their own!
Engineer a solution. How could you capture a snowflake so it takes a long time to melt? Could you catch it then explore it under a microscope?