Children in our Key Stage 2 STEM club have been taking part in engineering projects. They investigated how paper could be strengthened to build towers and support loads and have used K’nex to make vehicles. A group of year 6 boys wanted to have a go at making an electric car using lego. They have all showed fantastic team working and problem solving skills. Definitely some engineers of the future!
This week, children have been exploring Chemical Reactions. They mixed different substances to see what created the most spectacular reactions and experimented with changing amounts and adding different ingredients.
“Look at it erupting, that’s so cool!” Olivia Y4
“I’m going to add more washing up liquid as I think that will speed up the reaction.” Annalea Y3
Fun in Science Club
Children have enjoyed building using lego, K’Nex and other materials. They have enjoyed the challenge of working together to solve design problems, showing excellent collaborative and critical thinking skills.
They also explored slime and experimented with making the stickiest, slimiest and stretchiest slime. They evaluated their products and came up with the best recipes. It was ‘totally slimetastic’, said Jessica, ‘but let’s not talk about the mess!’
Excitement, Explosions and Electricity!
Children throughout school in years R-6 were lucky to have a visit from the Royal Institute who brought their science roadshow to us on 26th January.
They explored how electricity works and even got to have a go at some experiments themselves.
“I was amazed when the gherkin lit up like a lightbulb!”
“The loud explosion gave me a such a shock – it was awesome!”
“The lightning was so cool!” (Sinthijan Y5)
The RSPB Big School’s Birdwatch
We are taking part in a national survey to help the RSPB collect data about birds across the country.
Y5 visit the Soyuz capsule that took Tim Peake to the International Space Station!
Tim Peake spent 6 hours inside this capsule on his historic mission to the ISS in December 2015 and some lucky children in year 5 actually got to see it!
They wondered what it must have been like for Tim sitting in the small capsule on his way into space and marvelled at the size of the parachute attached to it which helped it land safely back to Earth. They even got to try on a replica space suit. Layla thought this was the best bit, giggling at how huge her arms seemed in it and Aaron even managed to do the ‘dab’! They were all amazed to see such a huge piece of British history.
“It was so awesome to see the actual capsule that has been into space.”
“Imagine how it must feel floating back down to earth with that giant parachute!”
“I can’t believe it only took 6 hours to get into space – it takes that long to drive to London!”
“That was the best trip ever!”
Year 4 children worked with our STEM ambassador to make ice cream using only ice, salt, milk and cream. It was very messy but worth it to eat the ice cream at the end! They learned the science behind this and linked it to our work on polar explorers and their maths work on negative numbers and temperature.
Year 3 children have been looking at plants and linking it to our harvest festival celebration. They pulled up some different roots from our garden and were surprised to find out that carrots and parsnips are actually roots of plants. They used a digital microscope to compare the roots and make predictions about carnations in coloured water.
Year 5 children have enjoyed making a scale model of the Solar System, even though they had to get to grips with some tricky maths!
Year 6 children have been out in our garden collecting and classifying worms. They were amazed to discover the number of different types of worms we had living there.
Year 1 children have enjoyed learning about autumn and weather. They made their own wind gauges to measure how strong the wind was and tested them out on one of our windiest days.
Children in our ASCEND science group were lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Bring it On’ event, a national engineering initiative at the Stadium of Light, where they met lots of engineers from local companies. They tried lots of different science linked activities and even got to watch some explosions. I’m sure we have some future scientists and engineers amongst us!
Year 3 ASCEND children tried to make the world’s longest straw and investigated the best way to do this. I think their record breaking straw measured in at 357cm long!
Year 5 ASCEND group visit Nissan
What a fun packed day of learning!
Firstly we learned some interesting facts about the Japanese culture and the origins of Nissan – we even learned how to say some Japanese words!
We made our own lego cars on an assembly line and looked at the ways the company logged data to make it more efficient. We raced our own (model!) cars in the workshop and saw some of the robots doing their jobs. We learned about the different areas and careers in Nissan and even had a go at using some of the power tools. We were amazed to see all of the science, maths, engineering and technology that are behind the making of each new Nissan car.
A special well done to Nahida who won first prize designing a new logo and to Ashton and Dominic who came runners up.
“I love how Nissan use science that we have been learning about”. Dominic Y5
CSI Valley Road Style!
Wow – what a start to British Science Week!
Our hall became the scene of a daring theft and children in years 2-5 became forensic scientists to help solve the crime. They cordoned the scene off to preserve the evidence and examined the clues. Whose was the mystery footprint? Could the dropped handkerchief contain vital DNA? Which type of fingerprint was found inside the safe – a whorl, an arch or a loop? We even had identical twin suspects to contend with – the children worked out that even though their DNA was the same, their fingerprint wasn’t.
The children managed to solve the case and identify the criminal, showing fantastic skills in observation, reasoning and team work. I think we might even have some future forensic investigators amongst us!
Well done everyone!
British Science Week runs from 10th – 19th March and there are some great (and easy!) ideas for experiments at home on their website:
‘Smart Materials’ Workshop
Year 5 children were visited by Durham University’s Dr Paula Martin to investigate smart materials as an introduction to their ‘Materials’ topic.
They looked at how these materials are used by astronauts and explored thermochromic materials, sodium polyacrylate and even painted their own colour changing pictures!
“Wow – look at it expanding, that’s amazing!” (Lily)
“If I drop water into the sides, it expands faster”. (Nahida)
“I wonder if cooling it down will change the colour again?” (Layton)
Building Bridges at Shildon Raliway Museum
With Sunderland’s newest bridge being constructed as we speak, our ASCEND children in years 3 and 4 became real-life bridge engineers!
Firstly, they explored different bridge designs and learned about the design process behind building new bridges.
Next, they worked in teams to design their own bridge and ‘bought’ the materials they thought they would need. They then built their bridges, testing and evaluating materials and techniques as they went.
Finally, each team presented their bridge and tested its span and how much weight it could hold before a winning design was chosen by the judges.
“If I roll the paper up, it makes it hold more weight.” (Layla)
“I’m going to use triangles in my bridge design because I learned they are a really strong shape”. (George)
“We’ve got £3.50 left to spend – which materials will be most useful to us?” (Ishmail)
Building Locomotives at Shildon Raliway Museum
Children in years 4 and 5 ASCEND science group were thrilled to become electrical engineers!
Firstly, they explored different locomotive designs and learned of the advantages of electric trains over steam engines. The children built their own circuits and investigated motors and switches.
Next, they worked in teams to design their own locomotive, making decisions about materials and size and number of wheels.
The favourite part was the race against each other – whose locomotive went the fastest? Whose travelled the furthest? Whose went in a straight line? The judges decided on an overall winner but all of the designs were fantastic!
“I know that big wheels go faster but have less control and small wheels go slower with more control so I’m going to use medium sized wheels so I get speed and control.” (Robert)
“I wonder if using a larger battery will give it more power?” (Nash)
“I’m going to make my design streamlined because that will reduce air resistance and make it go faster” (Mckenzi)