Ideas for pre-primary school STEM activities

During our webinar a few weeks ago, we have received quite a few questions from pre-primary teachers looking for STEM activities to organize with their toddlers.

In this age, children’s curiosity and willingness to put their hands on pretty much everything (some of you are smiling while reading this, I am sure), are your biggest advantages when looking for activities!

There are two main aims when you are creating activities for this age group:
– Create a safe environment for children to explore using their senses.
– Create natural learning experiences that lead to discovery and inquiry.

Below I am providing two easy to set up activities and some additional ideas that will help you get started:

Disappearing Egg activity

This egg experiment is great for preschoolers and older kids! If you are using this with older kids then you need to know that the egg dissolves because eggshells contain calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in many antacid tablets. This dissolves in the acidic vinegar to produce calcium ions (which stay dissolved in the vinegar) and carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide produces the bubbles that you will see while the egg is dissolving. Now that you know the science behind this cool activity, here is everything your kids need to give it a try!

Materials needed: a glass jar with lid (from jam, tomato sauce etc.), white vinegar, egg

Directions:

–  Gently place the egg into the mason jar.

– Fill with vinegar leaving 3-4cm space at the top. It is important to leave room at the top of the jar or it might burst from the carbon dioxide gas produced by the reaction.

 – Cover the jar with the lid and ring. Again, make sure it is not too tight so that the gas can escape the jar.
– Leave for 2 days, remove the remaining pieces of shell (if any) and then enjoy your shell-less egg!

 

Tips: 

– You can add some food coloring in the vinegar. It will dye the membrane (just for fun!)

– You can tell kids that what they are holding is literally one giant cell. You can explain to them that cells are microscopic little things that make up all living things but eggs are very large cells in general.

Magnetic container

 

This very simple construction will provide you with a great opportunity to introduce kids to magnets, their properties and show them which materials are magnetic and which not. Toddlers can spend loads of time fishing out magnetic objects so make sure to allow them enough time to explore and reflect on their findings.

 

Materials needed: A large plastic container, various small magnetic materials (i.e. paper clips, coins, scissors) and non-magnetic materials (i.e. Lego blocks, small pencils, erasers, small plastic figures), rice or lentils, magnets

 

Directions:
– Fill the container with rice or lentils (red ones to add some color)
– Place all your magnetic and non-magnetic objects in the rice/lentils and stir well in order to hide them
– Give the magnets to the kids and ask them to pull out as many objects as possible
                                                                                                   

 

Tips:

-Explain and show them in advance what magnets are and the main difference between magnetic and non-magnetic materials

– Prepare for each box a grid with pictures of the items you have hidden in it. Ask kids to fish out using the magnets all magnetic objects and add a smiley face next to them.

 

Other ideas: 

 

Looking forward to hearing all about your experiences and any other STEM activities you have tried with your pre-schoolers!

* Both images are from http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.be

eTwinning project Space Adventures

In the past year, my students and I have participated in an eTwinning project called Space Adventures. Our partners were from France, Italy and Poland.

The main aim of the project is to acquire knowledge of the planets of the solar system, of exoplanets and of the ways to detect them.

Meanwhile, we also hope that students will expand their scientific English vocabulary. Not only due to the specific multilingual glossary of astronomy but also due to the collaborative activities and teamwork through which students had to gather material on famous astronomers, on planets and their environments and on modern exoplanet detection systems.

Coding was also part of the project together with the programming of software like Stellarium and of robots or drones to explore the schools. Students should improve their skills in this area too.

Final products:

  • A multilingual glossary of astronomy
  • Videos of school exploration
  • Biographies of Galileo, Copernicus, Le Verrier and Noordung
  • Jigsaw puzzles on planets
  • A scale model of the Solar System
  • An E-book for a report on the conference with scientists working on exoplanets

We planned the following activities:

Activity 1 : What do we know about the other countries?
Activity 2 : Create and vote for the best logo.
Activity 3 : A collaborative multilingual glossary of astronomy.
Activity 4 : Astronomers’ biographies.
Activity 5 : School exploration by “robots”.
Activity 6 : A video conference or a visit from an astronomer/astrophysicist as a role model. A discussion with scientists (from France and form Slovenian about exoplanets.
Activity 7 : Games for students about astronomy

Events with scientists:

Mr. Sean Raymond is an astronomer working at the Laboratory of Astrophysics in Bordeaux. In video conference meeting he explane us how they can find exoplanets.

Dr. Marija Strojnik (Scholl) is a senior professor at the Optical Research Center in Leon, Mexico. She visited Slovenian school beginning March when she visited Slovenia. Students asked her questions about exoplanets and about her work in Mexico. The questions were prepared with the cooperation of all partners.

All activities are on our TwinSpace: https://twinspace.etwinning.net/47471/home

 

“Say Yes to STEM”? UMI-Sci-Ed does!

The USA, the UK and other countries are currently facing a skills gap surrounding STEM-based job roles; according to Engineering UK, each year the UK is producing only half the number of engineers with the right qualifications to fill nearly two million job openings expected by 2020 – let alone producing as many engineers as economic competitors in Asia.

Employers are looking to hire people with more advanced skills, especially in STEM fields, but job seekers are often struggling to figure out which skills they need and where they can learn them. In workplace learning, employers, are providing fewer opportunities for on-the-job training than they have in the past; yet, they are still looking to hire workers with skills and experience. What also seems important is the need to launch and -why not– establish collaboration between employers and educators so as to identify the skills they need to fill the jobs available and help map career pathways from entry-level to middle skill jobs and beyond.

As science, technology and engineering are powerful drivers of economic growth, it is critical to encourage more young people to opt for these subjects at school and university as it is equally critical to showcase STEM careers as an attractive option among the many choices offered to highly talented graduates. This is actually one of the goals of UMI-Sci-Ed: Exploring Ubiquitous, Mobile & Internet of Things in Science Education, funded by the European Commission in the context of Horizon 2020 calls (GA750183) (UMI-Sci-Ed Weblink, The UMI-Sci-Ed Platform .

Investigating the introduction of UMI technologies in education on STEM subjects and establishing Communities of Practice on the basis of supporting in a work based like environment European youngsters 14-16+ years old , has been seen as the major UMI-Sci-Ed partners’ challenge. By providing instructional design infrastructure for STEM based educational scenarios and space for on line collaboration among IT corporate specialists and European secondary teachers and students , UMI-Sci-Ed project carefully exploits state of the art technologies (UMI) to build STEM skills and train young students so as to become talented and skilful STEM future employees. Offering novel educational services, implementing innovative pedagogies and enhance students’ and teachers’ creativity, encouraging socialization and scientific citizenship are also important for the UMI-Sci-Ed rationale. Which skills are important for pursuing a STEM oriented career? In what ways company stakeholders could be involved in the effective tracing and development of these skills?

The UMI-Sci-Ed project is launched in public through the I-linc platform on a 21st March webinar @ 14.30 until 17.00 CET. More info about the registration to the webinar are available at :
http://www.i-linc.eu/web/portal/resources/articles-and-research/details?urlTitle=webinar-invitation-using-umi-ubiquitous-mobile-iot-technologies-to-support-stem-education&articleId=633142

 

1st Albanian Scientix Conference

STEM Discovery Week 2018 at Albania

1st Albanian Scientix Conference – Hold on Fier, Albania

 

Idea: Dentila Garipi

Coordinated by: Dentila Garip

Co-workers: All Scientix Ambassadors of Albania and the STEM teacher Erviola Konomi

Moderated by: Dentila Garipi

________________________________________________________________________________

During the STEM Discovery Week, teachers from different cities in our country will work on their planned activities with their students. All Scientix Ambassadors of Albania will collaborate and create during the all-day Conference on 28 April, which will be held at the school “Flatrat e dijes”, Fier, Albania. Each of the Ambassadors have their responsibility to take part in the organisation.

What about the conference?

  • It will be an all day conference, starting at 09:00 am and ending at 16:00 pm.
  • During the conference, different speakers will have presentations they prepare.
  • A discussion panel with an invited person will be part of this conference and teachers will prepare questions they are interested in.
  • Parallel sessions of training for educators is another point of interest for educators which will inform about the Scientix platform and possibilities to get involved.
  • Lunch and the ceremony of certification for the invited teachers.

Who is going to be invited?

Different teachers from science subjects at school. There will be an open invitation to submit documents, where teachers can express their interest to take part. All Ambassadors can invite their colleagues from their schools too, but only a limited number of teachers will be selected.

Speakers of the conference?

Almida Cercizaj – first Scientix Ambassador of Albania

Adriana Laze – (Scientix Ambassador of Albania)

Dhurata Myrtollari – (Scientix Ambassador of Albania)

Erviola Konomi – (Active STEM teacher)

Trainers of the conference?

Almdia Cercizaj

Adriana Laze

Valbona Mata

 

Our wordpress page!

Click to follow our activities

What about our activities?

Follow us on YouTube:

 

 

Fier, Albania ; 28 April 2018

1-st Scientix Albanian Conference

                    AGENDA

28 April 2018

9.30 am to 10.00 am

Registration

10:00 am to 10.05 am

Opening ceremony

10:05 am to 10:20 am

Presentation:  “ STEM Motivation”

                          Almida Cercizaj (First Albanian Scientix Ambassador

10:20 am to 10.35 am

Presentation: “How to create your account on scientix
platform.

 

 

10.35 am to 10.50 am

                           Adriana Laze (Albanian Scientix Ambassador)

Presentation: “Scientix Moodle e te mesuarit online”

                         Dhurata Myrtollari (Albanian Scientix Ambassador)

10:50 am to 11:00 am

Coffee break

 

11.00 am to 11:15 am

Presentation: Practices in Math,

                       Erviola Konomi (Activie teacher on STEM project)

 

11:20 am to 12.00 pm

Discusion panel  


Invited from different field of STEM interested

12.00 am to 12. 20 pm

Presentation:

12:40 pm to 14.00 pm

 Lunch

14:00 pm to 14:45 pm

Parallel session training

       “STEM at primary school” – Trainer A. Cercizaj

       “Online event on scientix” – Trainer A. Laze, V. Mata

14:45 pm to 15:00 pm

Closing conference

All Ambassadors that are giving their contribute to organise the conference:
  1. Almida Cercizaj
  2. Alketa Bajrami
  3. Adriana Laze
  4. Dhurata Myrtollari
  5. Dentila Garipi
  6. Rovena Hoxha
  7. Luljeta Koci
  8. Valbona Mata