STEM DAYS

Author: Şerife TAKMAZ

STEM: from my classroom to workshop

We planned STEM Days events within the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign. The purpose of this activity was to inspire students with a sense of curiosity. In addition, it was about encouraging them to develop critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, cooperation and digital skills at an early age and gain a sense of responsibility. 26 students from 9 to 10 years old attended the event. Of the 26 students, 14 were girls and 12 boys. I ensured that all of my students attended every event. Our activities were carried out in our classrooms and also in Konya Science Center. Our events took place between 3 – 7 February 2020.

In total, we conducted 7 different STEM activities: 5 in our class and 2 observation and experiment activities were held at Konya Science Center. Scientific sources were used in 5 of these activities. In other activities, individual innovative resources were adopted. Our activities were organised in accordance with this year’s slogan “Innovative Trends in Education”.

We carried out these studies at the school for 3 days and at the Konya Science Center for 2 days. We have a total of 6 hours of lessons per day at school. We allocated three hours of these six hours to our STEM activities. Our work at Konya Science Center took place between 08:00 and 12:00 in the morning.

The teacher responsible for carrying out the activities in the class was the class teacher Şerife TAKMAZ. Ayşenur ORDUKAYA and Ali KARAKAYA served as educational guides at the Konya Science Center. They are proficient in the STEM field. Our students waited for our STEM activities with curiosity and enthusiasm. Their excitement was worth seeing.

STEM DAYS PROGRAM

TimeActivity
03.02.2020Parachute
04.02.2020Catapult – Flextangle
05.02.2020AR Application-Layers of the World
06.02.2020Konya Science Center Activities (Coding)
07.02.2020Konya Science Center Events (Keystone)

Description of the Activities

Activity 1: Parachute

After a discussion about what a parachute is and how it works, students created the parachute they thought would work best. They used oversize bags, tape, scissors and rope while making a parachute. They tested their designs throwing their parachutes through the school window. Then a class discussion was held on how the air resistance, what changes students can make to improve their designs. This activity was organised in accordance with the “Movement and Force” topic, which is a part of 4th grade Science curriculum. Here is the source.

1-Event- Let’s watch the parachute video!

Activity 2: Catapult

In this activity, a shoebox, a bottle cap, a pen, a tongue stick and a tape were used. First, 2 holes were opened in the shoebox with the pen. Then the bottle cap was glued to the tongue stick. Then, students passed the pencil through the holes of the box and fixed it to the tongue stick with the help of rubber. Then we went to our school garden and tested our catapults with different objects. Will the ball move further if you push the milk bottle up and down? Will a lighter ball go further? What happens if you use a longer craft stick? Are there any changes that can be made so the catapult works better? We tried to grasp the basic laws of physics and engineering by looking for answers to such questions.

We also showed that they can create different designs and new products with waste materials. At the end of the process, we had fun in the garden. Here is the source.

2-Event- Let’s watch the catapult video!

Activity 3: Flextangle

Our aim in this activity was to develop students’ ability to connect, enhance creative thinking processes and collaborate. First, the flextangle pages were printed. Then students painted these pages in the colours they wanted. Then they cut and glued them in a proper order. After all, our endless cycle was ready and fun.

3- Event- Let’s watch the Flextangle video!

Activity 4: AR Application

Scientix resource USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) IN EDUCATION was used in this workshop. The open version of the cube to be used in AR application was taken from the printer and given to students. The students created a cube by cutting and pasting it from the edges. Later, we downloaded the AR application (Galactic Explorer) to our phones. With this app, students held the entire solar system in their palms. They observed how the planets revolve around the sun, how day and night is formed. They saw the colours of the surface of each planet. They touched the planets and wanted to learn more about them. Students also had the opportunity to test new tools and improve their digital skills during this activity.

4 -Event – Let’s watch the AR Application Video!

AR Application study

Activity 5: Layers of the World

Scientix resource Earth, from inside towards outside – Practical activities for primary educational level was used in this workshop. The study focused on different layers of the world. Especially the crust, mantle and core were emphasized. Playdough, knife and small pieces of coloured paper were used for this activity. Then we combined the layers from the play dough, respectively. Then we created a section from the sphere. Lastly, we examined the layers.

World Layers Study

Activity 6: Coding Robot and Coding with SCRATCH

When coding a robot abstract codes used in computer programs were arranged using buttons, algorithm creation, sequencing, error sequencing were taught. The students were shown ways to analyze the problem, determine the order of operations and reach the solution more easily by making a strategic plan. Later, we started coding with Scratch. Here is the source. This activity was held at the Konya Science Centre.

Coding Activities
Coding Activities

Activity 7: Event-Keystone

Another activity organised at Konya Science was the “Keystone”. In architecture, keystones are placed in the middle and upper part of the last stone of the arch and keep the arch standing. Acting as a wedge, the keystone prevents the belt from collapsing. In this activity, students were given pieces of different shapes to build a belt. So they learned how to maintain living space integrity. The students worked together. When they finished the belt, they were very surprised and proud.

Keystone Study Photos

Students then made observations and experiments in the sections of the Konya Science Center, “Our World” and “Our Universe”. Basic information about the solar system, stars, planetary system, galaxies in the universe we live in was given. Technologies used by humanity to explore space were explained with interactive exhibition mechanisms.

Observations and Application Photos We Made at Konya Science Center
Observations and Application Photos We Made at Konya Science Center

In the “Basic Steps” section, we tried to ensure that our students observe the events occurring in nature and understand the scientific principles behind them. They made examinations observing “Our Body” exhibition. They had the opportunity to do small applications and experiments in these sections.

Finally, in the Planetarium, they watched the show “The Life of the Trees”. In this show, Ladybug Dolares and Firefly Mike made a presentation which explained how trees live and grow. It is a movie set on a 180-degree screen with a cartoon taste that explains how the water moves in the trees moves and how the food is made.

As a result

I think we supported the formation of an innovative, research-minded and confident information society with these activities. It aroused scientific curiosity and a desire to learn and paved the way for students to generate new ideas. Critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills were developed. It provided an opportunity to understand the physical phenomena that define the operation of some devices.

The students conducted these activities together. Families supplied materials to Konya Science Center and also supported their transportation. The parents stated that the students liked these kinds of activities. At the end of the activities, the students were very happy. They stated that many issues that they had difficulty understanding were understandable. Also, they had a lot of fun when cooperating with their friends. They did not want to leave the events. They prepared the ground for the repetition of these events.

This entry was posted in 2020, Event, Inquiry Based Science Education, Learning, Research, Teaching, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by Şerife Takmaz. Bookmark the permalink.
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About Şerife Takmaz

Hello. I've been a teacher for 18 years. I work at the Science and Art Center in my country. My school is a school that educates gifted students. I have been an ambassador for Scientix since March 2021. I am also a member of the STEM Career Counselors Network. The STE(A)M IT project, conducted in partnership with Stem Alliance and Scientix, has developed the foundations of a network of career counsellors (CANs) at the primary and secondary levels to help teachers develop their understanding of the developing world. I also completed my master's degree in Educational Administration, Supervision, Planning and Economics. I have presented papers at many educational congresses and platforms. I also have a book written in this field. I have written articles on this subject in peer-reviewed journals. I love working on STEM with my students. I have participated in many eTwinning and Erasmus projects. I am also an eTwinning management team, STEM team member and project consultant at Konya Provincial Directorate of National Education.

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