By Katrina Geertsema

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

Last Wednesday morning, students had the opportunity to actively participate in these four fields. Throughout the morning, students moved from station to station, being taught and guided by our Grade 7 & 8 students.

States of Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gasses and Oobleck?

Students learned about the states of matter, and about how matter undergo a physical change (such as melting), or a chemical change, such as what happens when vinegar and baking soda are mixed.

And then they wondered and explored Oobleck… if you’ve never put your hands in Oobleck before, you need to google it, and buy some extra cornstarch. Oobleck is a mysterious substance that displays properties of both solids and liquids. Hmmm… what category would scientists put it in?

Piece it together: Puzzling with Shapes

At this math station, students had the opportunity to work with a variety of shape related puzzles, each of which helped students with their spatial awareness and shape recognition.

Laughing with Little Bits

At this station, students learned about circuits, power sources and loads, and designed a circuit that included two lights, a pressure sensitive switch, and a vibrating motor. They connected these paper plates and made a funny face that lit up and wagged it’s tongue when you pressed the ear.

The second half of the morning involved some special workshops that were run by the S, D & G Library. We were so thankful to have the staff from the library come out with two of their technology kits: Makey Makey and Ozobots.

Students from the older grades had an opportunity to further explore circuits and see some coding in action as they participated in this workshop.

Younger students had a chance to work with little Ozobots. These robots follow codes that you write with markers on papers: The colours and patterns that you put in your line tell the robot when to stop, go or turn around, and even how fast to go.

The rest of the morning was spent in building, or engineering. Students in JK – Grade 2 were given a large supply of cardboard and tape and built castles, some with working drawbridges!

Students from Grades 3-8 worked in teams to create marble roller coasters out of pipe insulation. They learned about potential and kinetic energy and momentum as they tried to design roller coasters with different challenges in them. Students enjoyed trying and adjusting and trying and adjusting, trying to them to work just right.

Students in all grades had an opportunity to reflect on their learning, showing the depth of learning both on the science and technology level, and the personal growth level. One theme that came up in many journals was the satisfaction of working diligently at something in order to achieve success and the feeling of victory when they overcame a challenge, as is summed up in this picture:

Below are some journal excerpts, with the student’s grade:

SK: “This is oobleck. I could pick it up and then it dropped. This is a balloon that blows up and down. Food colouring in the baking soda.”

Gr. 3: “I enjoyed the STEM Fair so much. My favourite station was the Makey Makey… you learn a lot about technology.”

Gr. 4: “My favourite part of the STEM Fair was the puzzles because I got to help my brain grow. Before I thought I was not going to like the puzzle activity but not until I tried it, then I liked it.”

Gr. 5: “I learned to never give up when you’re working with a team.”

“When we were doing the roller coaster I learned that you don’t always get things right the first time.”

“When me and my group were working we tested it a lot and we finally figured it out!”

Gr. 7: “I liked leading my group because my group wanted to learn and improve on STEM!”

“It was nice to have the library come in with some cool stuff.”

“My favourite station was Laughing with Little Bits. I enjoy tinkering with wires and energy sources, so I enjoyed this station.”

Gr. 8: “The roller coaster craze forced us to think about things like speed, curve, and engineering. I think i enjoyed that station the most because you you had to think in a different way.”

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As students and teachers at a Christian school, we are always seeking to better know our creator God. When we understand and marvel at the world that He created, it gives us insight, awe and appreciation for God and His creation. When use our minds to create structures, roller coasters and robots, we are living as image bearers of the one who created us to be creative!