To kick off our return to work this week we held a Mad Scientist Day. The kids were all encouraged to come dressed as scientists, and all activities for that day were focused on science, or widened to STEM. On a Monday is when I teach all of my EYFS and KS1 classes, so to get their creative minds going I got out my trusty Lego box!
In a education system with so much focus on Maths and English the other subjects tend to lose out a bit. Science and STEM are an incredibly important tool for pupils as they develop, and can lead to some fantastic opportunities in life. As a school we decided to give it a bit of a reboot, and inspire the pupils and staff by devoting a day to science. The learning opportunities it develops are great, as well as how much they enjoy it! Sometimes teachers need reminding of that too, who through no fault of their own, devote their timetable to Maths and English!
In my own little computing corner of the school I decided LEGO would be my weapon of choice for the day. As well as scientists I wanted them to be inventors. With the Wallace and Gromit theme tune on in the background I told my Reception pupils that I wanted them to create with the Lego, not play with it. After we talked about the difference I set the kids some challenges that were very much in the style of the Lego programme on Channel 4! Starting out I asked them to build me a small robot using no more than 10 bricks. Waited 10 minutes, rang my bell and changed the rules. I told them I wanted them to add a top secret ability with 10 more bricks to their robot. Waited 10 more minutes and rang the bell again. This time they had to join forces with a partner and combine their models to make a super robot! After they’d spent some time building (no brick limit) I then got them to talk about it. They had to stand up with their partner, and talk me through each of the features of their robot. It was great to hear them talking me though things, like a little window into their imagination!
The heart-breaking bit came at the end when told them they had to leave their models for the next group! Even though our Science day was a bit of a one off it’s already planned my lessons for next week. I’m going to forget their topics and get them to work with the Lego again! This time I want to turn it into some work on the PCs. I’m thinking something like a step by step guide, or maybe animating them a little using 2Animate (by 2SimpleSoftware). I had staff members popping their heads in to see what all the fuss was about, and I would really like to see this done in other rooms too! I might have to drop my box off around the school!
Let’s be honest, a lesson with a big pile of Lego was always going to be amazing, though I have to say the tidying up too a little while!