STEAM ahead with STEM


STEM is all about creativity, innovation, individuality and of course collaboration. The pupils of Osnovna škola Petra Preradovica in Croatia look forward to the STEM Discovery Campaign every year as they know that the entire school transforms into a STEM lab. For one day our halls, classrooms and even the school playground become places for exploring, innovating, mentoring and learning about technology. This year was no different with a multitude of events being organised. The highlight was of course the annual STEM day which brought together many volunteers from different associations from all over the country.

Inquiry based learning

The most effective way to ignite a spark of interest in STEM is by allowing children to explore and investigate themselves. As a Scientix ambassador I have met many individuals who pursue their love of STEM in the classroom and beyond. These wonderful people are always ready to share their knowledge, expertise and experience no matter how packed their schedule is.
Our hall became a virtual playground for students who explored the past through virtual reality, they learned how to play music with the help of fruit and learned about the connection of cryptography and mathematics. There was a section dedicated to 3D printing as well as laser cutting. For those who love biology there were practical hands-on workshops in the playground which gave our pupils the opportunity o learn about bioplastics, plastic recycling, the circular economy and microscopy.

Eggs and gravity

The youngest children participated in an interactive workshop in the form of a stand-up comedy show called The Science of Eggs.
The pupils enjoyed this interactive workshop immensely. First they were split into pairs. Each pair received a glass of water, some salt and an egg. They put the egg in the glass of water and added salt, slowly stirring the water with a spoon. They had to be careful not to use too much salt.
The winner was the pair who managed make their egg rise in the glass of water by using the least amount of salt. They then determined similarities between the planet Earth and it’s gravity and eggs.

To infinity and beyond

Those who love lego and space were treated to a unique presentation which showed them how space exploration has developed throughout the years but all connected to lego exhibits. Pupils played with the lego sets inspired by real-life NASA missions, including several generations of space shuttles and Mars rovers. They also learned about our Solar System, black holes and the Mars Perseverance rover.

Our eldest pupils, the eighth graders learned how to turn their unique drawings into graphic images which were then laser printed onto foils. They proceeded to cut and shape them in preparation for imprinting them on bags. This entire process of creating, crafting, printing and production was one of the most popular workshops.

Over five hundred pupils and forty teachers participated in this celebration of STEM. We are already looking forward to new challenges and projects as these events motivate and inspire all of us to steam ahead with renewed energy to a brighter, bolder and better world.

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About anitasimac

I am a mathematics at the Petar Preradović Elementary School in Zadar, Croatia and a teacher mentor. Apart from monitoring the Regional Education Centre in Zadar and Centre for gifted children, I am also a National Geographic Certified Educator, an Adobe Creative Educator, a Scientix ambassador since 2016 and an active and award-winning member of the eTwinning community. Participating in numerous national and international conferences as well as projects in the STEM field helps promote my goals in teaching which are to connect mathematics with lifelong learning through project and inquiry based teaching, and to develop students' passion for science, creativity and research.

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