Steam education and the ancient Greek civilization with jigsaw method

The past comes into the present embraces with stem education because as the ancient Greek writer Ploutarchos said, the mind of children is not a container that we have to fill but a fire that we have to light.

By Margarita Dakoronia, primary school teacher of 32nd Primary School of Piraeus-Greece, and her 21 amazing 9 years old students

SUMMARY

We meet the ancient Greek civilization based on steam education. And the jigsaw educational method helps us in this activity. Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a topic. Our topics will be science, technology, reading, arts, and maths in Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in ancient Greece.

Our resources: Jigsaw.org, youtube with the videos which I have added in the presentation, Europeana, the following greek museum Santorini museum, Knossos museum, Mykeanes and ideas for stem activities from scientix, nasa stem, vivifystem.

Aims of the project:

  • to acquaint students with ancient Greek culture through a different perspective -stem in history
  • to cooperate in the production of the desired result
  • to teach interdisciplinary traditional teaching subjects such as history
  • to find the best possible solutions by collaborating
  • to teach their peer based in jigsaw method
  • to create through the areas that interest them by participating in the team of their choice, as professionals

The project is scheduled based on the following relevant trends and innovations 4c’ skills:

Project based learning: The pupils ought to schedule the steps of the project, to collaborative in groups with their peers and each of the group to produce the materials for the specific period.

Collaborative learning: Collaboration is very necessary to our project. The groups collaborate at the three steps of jigsaw method to succeed their goals. The jigsaw method helps the kids to collaborate and to teach each other. The role of the teacher is only instructive.

Steam learning: Each group of the 5 historical period create the materials depend on steam acronym.

Science: the evolution of life, the search for the extinction of the dinosaurs, the discovery of the wheel, the discovery of writing, the eruption of the volcano of Santorini in 1500 BC and the destruction of ancient civilizations in ancient Greece.

Technology: the construction of the wheel that is considered the most important ancient invention and the programming of our robot – the first wheel to move between our ancient settlements.

Engineering: the architecture and the construction of the first settlements in Greece, in Dimini and Hoirokitia as well as a house of the Minoan period

Art: the group of artists created rock paintings of caves, murals, vases and seals used by ancient civilizations for their financial transactions

Mathematics: Mathematicians engaged in the construction of a vessel similar to what is considered the first computer and was a creation of the Minoan civilization. They measured the distances that the points on the vessel that show the seasons and the months should have.

For the realization of the project, I tried to encourage and cultivate the development of the Creativity , the Critical Thinking, the Communication and the Collaboration, the 4c’ skills of 21st century.

Dates: 1st of April-29th of April 2022, we worked on this project about three hours per week.

1st step: The children were initially divided into composition groups. I assign one of the group members the role of coordinator and distribute the necessary material for the children to study. The student coordinator instructs each student to study in depth a part of the content, taking on the role of expert. The groups have on their tablets the following presentation to study.

 2nd step: Specialization groups are created. Each group of specialists brings together the people from the initial groups who have undertaken the same common subset of the learning object. So we were divided into the following groups

  • the group of Paleolithic civilization
  • the group of Neolithic civilization
  • the group of Cycladic civilization
  • the group of Minoan civilization and
  • the group of Mycenaean civilization

3rd step: Ιn each culture group the children according to their preferences undertook to present the following thematic and they also teach their peers what they have learnt for the period that they have examed:

  • Sciences
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Art and
  • Mathematics

Paleolithic civilization

We started from the moment of the creation of the earth and examined the evolution of the species as Scientists. They showed great interest in the dinosaur period, as Artists painted and made comics about the extinction of the dinosaurs. They researched the species of dinosaurs and their categories according to the type of food in herbivores and carnivores.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Paleolithic period

Neolithic civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Engineers making the first Paleolithic settlements and planning our robot to visit them since at this time we have the discovery of the wheel so the scientists worked on the construction of the wheel. And the Artists painted their first rock paintings.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Neolithic period

Cycladic civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Artists who painted famous murals as well as the first seal stones that the merchants of that time needed for their financial transactions.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Cycladic period 1st

Minoan civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Scientists and Mathematicians who tried to make the vessel that is considered as the first computer. The Artists who created the album of Phaistos, one of the oldest inscriptions in the world. This scripture has not yet been read.

Photos with kids’ activities for the Minoan period 1st

Mycenaean civilization

The team that worked for this period, was the Engineering who built great ships-robots so that the Mycenaeans could develop trade and become the largest naval power of their time,

Photos with kids’ activities for the Mycenaean period (a file)

STEAM has no Gender

This year we decide to participate in the STEM Discovery Campaign with an awareness-raising event on the topic of the gender gap in STEM. Together with my colleague Donatella Sandias organized a multidisciplinary civic education activity focusing on SGDs 5 for all the students from Liceo Manzoni, Caserta.

The activity was presented to Liceo Manzoni teachers that have been involved in training about digital tools in education (Canva and digipad) and was a way to promote the use of this tool in the classes. To make it simple, all the digital tools have been included in a google site,(in Italian) where each page introduces an activity. But the main aim was to create a civic education activity for students to raise interest in STEAM and help them to understand that STEAM is for all!

In the following paragraphs, we will explore all the steps included and the activity.

What do you need to be competent in STEM?

We start the activity with this question, clarifying that there are no right o wrong questions, just opinions. Students have to answer the question on a digipad after a short discussion in class. It is funny that most of the students indicated skills like needed “perseverance”,” motivation“,” being smart“, skills that are not really related to STEM, which means most of them really don’t know what they need to be proficient in STEM. The next question was “Do you think you are proficient in STEM?” here we have different answers depending on the real skills of students, but the answer was also strongly affected by their self-confidence, in particular Girls.

Do you already have STEM skills?

We start the second part of the activity with other questions about one of the most used social media by students: Instagram. Here you have some questions:

  • Do you create stories combining together video and music? (that means they have some basic technology skills)
  • Do you plan what you are going to communicate with the background of your images? (that means you have some Art skills)
  • Do you regularly check how many people have visualized your story and compare data from different stories? (that means you have some basic mathematics skills)

So we introduce to students STEAM showing them these types of skills could be already included in their background, and we can ask them if they think they will be considered STEM citizens. I have to say that most of them were surprised to discover that they already have some basic STEAM skills and they were happy to define themself as STEAM citizens!

Let’s search

This activity starts with one question:

Do you think gender is relevant to defining STEAM skills?

I am so sad I hadn’t a camera to take a picture of their faces when they answer the question because I saw their faces so convinced that gender has no relevance in having or not STEAM skills.

But we would love to share with them what society thinks, to be aware! For this reason, we propose students to make simple research on Europeana, which is a great source of educational and teaching material, and most of them refer to the past, to show them what happened in the last century about the gender gap in STEAM. As in Italian languages we have masculine and feminine, we ask them to search scientist (he/his), and then scientist (she/her). Before to make the research some students were already supposing that we will not find any female scientists, which was really sad for me. On the google sites, they have a digipad where they can write what they have found. It could be an idea to make the research also in other languages to find if the results it is the same.

Take action!

SO we found a problem! and what we can do? I ask students to collaborate to create a campaign to underline that STEAM has no gender! we prepare a template in Canva that they can use to show which skills are important to be proficient in STEAM. In the template, we use a mannequin and let the students free to personalize it and underling or not his/her gender. After creating their artwork they upload these on a digipad, where they can also add votes, so we can decide the best work, that will be printed and posted all around the school.

https://digipad.app/p/152551/5f2574210d504

Event Name: SAVE THE RAINWATER WITH STEAM

Author: Gonca Koseoglu

Age Group: 2nd-years student (8-9 age group)

Event Date: February 2022

Applied Methods: Blended learning, Group study, Individual Study, STEM-based based on 5E learning cycle model events,

Pedagogical Approaches: Exploratory learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, experimental activities
Inquiry-based learning and student-based learning approaches such as learning with

GOALS

1-Realizes the importance of water for living things,

2-Learn to calculate water footprint,

3-Learns ways to reduce water footprint,

4-Blue water green water learns what is gray water,

5-Learns that rainwater harvesting is used to conserve water,

6-Learns the types of rainwater harvesting and practices more,

7-Expressing their ideas clearly

8-Developing inquiry skills

9-Developing collaborative and creative thinking skills

10-Developing engineering skills

11-Solve the basic problem of daily life,

LOGIN

People’s lives depend on clean water. We are getting to the point where we cannot find clean water. change, industrial reasons, and people’s unconsciousness cause these. Therefore, it is very important to manage water resources.

On the other hand, the world population is increasing day by day. Similarly, industrial activities are also increasing. Moreover, we will have uninhabitable environmental pollution. Climate change is also getting worse. Some regions receive less precipitation. That means things are not going well

Also, areas with low rainfall will experience water shortages. Areas with heavy rainfall will exceed the sewage capacity and notably cause serious water pollution.

Particularly ın this STEM learning scenario, we will describe our rainwater harvesting engineering steps to solve.

BASIC PROBLEM

Bu görselin boş bir alt özelliği var; dosya ismi: bd7be33d0.jpg
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Daily Life Problem Status :

1-Why is water important for our life?

2-What kind of difficulties would we face without water?

3-What are the water resources?

4-What pollutes the water?

5-Do you want to produce a solution to protect water?

At this stage, brainstorming is done with the students. Moreover, concept maps are prepared. We ask, what are the factors that pollute the water? Additionally, They are asked to make additions both at school and at home.

https://coggle.it/diagram/YaNF-OlLLhN2g4t7/t/-

Bu görselin boş bir alt özelliği var; dosya ismi: ba96cadeb_opt.jpg
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

STEP 1-DISCOVERING

Information is given here to students

Mankind supplies its water needs from surface waters and underground water resources. Especially the most important source of fresh water is precipitation. The same amount of precipitation falls on the earth every year. In our country, freshwater resources are quite limited and only sufficient.

They continue their daily lives and unconsciously increase their water use. To realize this increase, it is necessary to understand what a water footprint is.

It is also possible to calculate the water footprint of an individual in his daily life on a small or large scale. This process evaluates how much clean water is wasted and how much water can be saved.

The water footprint of our students is calculated.

Bu görselin boş bir alt özelliği var; dosya ismi: bb68d04d0.jpg
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)
Bu görselin boş bir alt özelliği var; dosya ismi: c1aa9e190.jpg
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Here are some suggestions for you to save more water:

• Reducing shower time

• Halving textile and food expenditures

• Do not rinse the dishes before putting them in the machine.

• Washing the laundry without prewashing

• Limit your budget for car washes and gas

• Do not leave the tap open

• Paying attention to the efficient use of water resources as well as other resources such as electricity and natural gas.

• Avoiding actions that cause water pollution

• Setting realistic goals with family members to reduce your monthly water consumption

Also, we promised to reduce our water footprint.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwfOr6O_73A
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Furthermore, We also gave responsibility to our parents.
Moreover, They will calculate the water footprint.

https://youtu.be/-H3hduaMCqc
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

https://youtu.be/Oq9ZbZs-mEo
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Parents have also promised to reduce their water footprint.

STEP 2-DEEPENING

Alice is 8 years old. He has dry days in the city where he lives. Moreover, their water resources are rapidly decreasing. Alice and her family have difficulties in finding water for drinking and cleaning as they suffer from frequent water shortages. In addition, the city where Alice lives can no longer produce as much from agricultural lands as it used to, as problems begin to occur in the irrigation of agricultural lands. On the way to and from school, Alice sees the wooded areas on the way she passed are rapidly decreasing. It doesn’t rain as much as before where they live. Trying to understand the reason for all this, Alice shares her observations with her family, friends, and teacher. They begin to discover how we can use the water we have more efficiently and how we can recover our water through recycling.

***In STEM scenarios, we like to tell the problems with a story.
It is always useful to establish a relationship between a real-life problem and the course content, to turn theoretical knowledge into practice, and to direct our students to research questioning and productivity

Information is given about collecting rainwater in our house. Moreover, a video about the subject is watched.

Bu görselin boş bir alt özelliği var; dosya ismi: bf8ef5ed0.jpg
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

STEP 3- ENGINEERING OF THE ROOF HARVEST FROM RAINWATER

    ACTIVITY:

Afterward, students are divided into groups according to the results of their research and their interests.

  • 1.Group Recycling and harvesting of water used in the kitchen.
  • 2.Group Recovery and harvesting of rain water.
  • decides to work on the use of recycled water in agriculture, cleaning, etc.

 EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS:

Cardboard box

Straws

waste plastic cans and bottles

paper cups

adhesive tape,

silicone gun

rope,

cardboard,backdrop cardboard,crafts paper, filter paper.

the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)
the picture is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

STEP 4- EVALUATION

Each group shares the engineering design with the other groups and their teachers. Students have the opportunity to examine products designed by other groups. The aim here is to enable students to evaluate their products by comparing them with other products. The spokesperson of the group briefly explains the product in class. If the school conditions are suitable, the prepared products are exhibited and shared with other students and teachers in the school. We were able to hold our school exhibition. It was really amazing.

Students Yaman, Umut, and Rüzgar explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

Yaman,Umut,Rüzgar tasarımlarını anlatıyor – YouTube the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Deniz explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

Presentation Rainwater harvest – YouTube the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Rüzgar explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

https://youtube.com/shorts/4kCw6ZVMjOU

Student Çınar explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

Presentation Rainwater harvest – YouTube the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Berke explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

https://youtu.be/344SefA6oYo
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Ece Naz explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

https://youtu.be/b7UQH4xe_cM
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Umut explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

https://youtu.be/EemsobWuONM
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Student Zekeriya explains the engineering of rainwater roof harvesting.

Nature Based City with Steam of Green Hearts Projects – YouTube the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

OUR PROJECT EXHIBITION

https://youtu.be/gqrjPp5SG00
the video is the author’s own – ( Attribution CC-BY)

Cloud Hunters Specialists (“Look Up – Cloud Hunters”- Competition)

For the “2022 STEM Discovery Campaign”, projects “GLOBE Program Elementary K-4″ and “Science Picnic/Znanstveni piknik 2022” announced their first competition – The “Look Up – Cloud Hunters”! The contest allowed the children and teachers to explore the possibilities of the mobile application „GLOBE Observer“ (GO App) https://observer.globe.gov/about/get-the-app by observing clouds and atmosphere conditions and taking photos of interesting clouds by mobile phone camera or tablet as an art activity with STE(A)M approach. 

    The competition was based on the methodology of the international GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) and using the GLOBE Observer application (GLOBE®). More about the GLOBE Program: (source: https://www.globe.gov/about )

GLOBE Vision: “A worldwide community of students, teachers, scientists, and citizens working together to better understand, sustain, and improve Earth’s environment at local, regional, and global level.”

GLOBE Mission: “To increase awareness of individuals throughout the world about the global environment, contribute to an increased scientific understanding of the Earth, and support improved student achievement in science and mathematics.”

„Look Up-Cloud Hunters „Competition is a non-profit initiative of the international project „GLOBE Program Elementary K-4“ (https://bit.ly/3xwbhN2 ) together with the project “Science Picnic / Znanstveni piknik 2022” (http://znanstvenipiknik.weebly.com/ ).

The project „GLOBE Program Elementary K-4“ was launched in June 2021 as an unofficial activity of the international „GLOBE Program“. Science Picnic / Znanstveni piknik is a 2-day science popularization event that gathers dozens of associations, schools, and institutions that present their science popularization activities to thousands of visitors. The event celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2021 -. The „Look Up-Cloud Hunters“ competition was coordinated by three Croatian non-governmental organizations: Professor Balthazar Association, Amateur Scientists Association, OUI (Empower-perfect-integrate for development). 

  The competition duration was from 25 April to 29 April 2022. The formal promotion of the competition started just a few days before the start of the competition, and regarding the short period for the promotional activities, the competition was successful. Thankfully to the #SDC22 team we overcame some technical difficulties and succeeded to organise the competition in time. Special thanks to a very active member of the GLOBE community, Mr. Brian Andrew Campbell (https://smdepo.org/user/211 ) NASA Senior Earth Science Education Specialist from Wallops Space Flight Center, for helping the promotion of the competition internationally.

   Twelve elementary/kindergarten teachers from four countries responded to the call (5 elementary schools and 7 kindergartens). Only a few of them are already GLOBE schools, but the observations were made by citizen science accounts on the GO App.

One kindergarten in that short period joined officially The GLOBE Program and also the international project “GLOBE Program Elementary K-4”. Two kindergarten teachers wrote the #SDC blog about cloud activities.

For many of them, it was the first encounter with the international “GLOBE Program”, “GLOBE Observer” app, the citizen science movement, and also with Scientix and the #SDC22. Teachers, over a very short period, managed to get through the wast sea of information contained in the “Terms and conditions” document of the “Look Up – Cloud Hunters”- Competition. All those great teachers together with children, and some parents joined a 5-day journey of a cloud hunting activity and managed to catch 65 artistic photos of clouds in different locations on planet Earth. 43 photos were taken during the activities with teachers. 22 photos were taken by children with their parents (some parents joined the GLOBE Observer measurements), and some of the photos even got the names: “Heart”, “Shark”, “Boot”, “Train”… 

About the data and measurements:

We were informed about 30 measurements submitted by GLOBE Observer App, 5 schools/kindergartens decided to join the “Look Up-Cloud Hunters” GLOBE Observer’s Team and as a team submitted 10 observations in the period from 25 April to 29 April 2022. The rest of them sent us a screenshot of the observation on the GO App.

Observed data were: 

Overal Sky Conditions observations-Total sky:

  • Cloud cover: No clouds, Few, Isolated, Scattered, Broken, Overcast
  • Color of the sky: blue, deep blue, light blue, pale blue
  • Sky clarity: Unusually clear, Clear
  • Opacity: opaque, translucent, transparent

Clouds and contrails: 

  • High-level clouds: Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus; no contrails were spotted
  • Middle-level clouds: Altocumulus, Altostratus 
  • Low-level clouds: Stratus, Stratocumulus Cumulus
  • Rain cloud: Cumulonimbus

Surface conditions spotted: Standing water, Dry ground, Leaves on Trees, Muddy

An example of citizen science GO App observation screenshot

The aim of the competition was not only to introduce a wider audience to different science concepts represented by different organizations and projects but also to encourage people to go outside and open their eyes to the beauty of the world around them and widen their perception of the synergy and diversity of phenomena on the planet Earth. By doing competition activities all the teachers and children contributed to helping worldwide scientists and NASA for a better understanding of the Earth as a harmonious system. We hope it also helps to expand the mindset of students aged 5-11 years regarding the reflection on sustainable future and scientific methodology and to broaden civic competencies. So we can announce that all the participants of the “Look Up – Cloud Hunters”- Competition 2022 are winners and deserve the title “Cloud Hunters Specialists”!

 Check out beautiful photos recorded by 5-11 years old children on the Wakelet collection „2022 STEM Discovery Campaign-STEM for All; Look Up – Cloud Hunters Competition“: https://wke.lt/w/s/UgZ9de

https://wke.lt/w/s/UgZ9de

2022 STEM Discovery Campaign-STEM for All – “Look Up – Cloud Hunters” Competition- Wakelet collection

Do the GLOBE Observer, be a citizen scientist, play with STEM activities, appreciate nature and let it be STEM for All!

More Atmosphere K-4 resources:

Vesna Lampić, Amateur Scientists Association

A MIXTURE OF STEM AND THEOLOGY

Organizer: prof. Codreanu Estera

Because the theme for this year is STEM FOR ALL, I thought: if it is for ALL, let’s mix it everywhere. So, I made an experiment: I brought together STEM and THEOLOGY. It may seem weird for some, but I think these two areas can meet in beautiful activities.

To believe in God we need faith. Sometimes, in science too we need faith in order to create or to discover new things. Every man of science sees far beyond the others. In his imagination impossible things are possible and in his work, impossible ideas become reality. Science, imagination, creativity and faith work together in solving problems and bringing new things in creation.

So I had this brilliant idea to start with a biblical story and around it to do STEM/STEAM activities: experiments, puzzles, mazes, math activities, art activities, scientific activities, etc. The activity was a project-like activity in the span of more weeks, between February until the end of April. It took place at the Tandarica Kindergarten from Suceava, involving preschoolers, aged 5-6 years, also their parents and a few teachers. Here are just a few topics that we approached. At the end of each one I will put some links of the resources that I used and inspired me.

The story of creation

Starting from the story of creation, the children studied topics like earth, stars, Sun, Moon, Solar System, planets, comets, asteroids, the formation of day and night, etc. They listened and watched episodes with Paxi from ESA, Power Point presentations, educational movies with scientific explanations. Then, they made all kinds of representations of all these by drawing them, painting, clay modelling, crafts, practical works, experiments, mazes, math exercises, etc. https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2009/05/lunar-landing.html, https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fizzing-moon-rocks-activity/, https://www.esa.int/kids/en/Multimedia/Paxi_animations/Romanian/Sistemul_Solar

The story of Noah

From the story of Noah, with the flood and the rainbow, we took for study the water, its properties, its benefits and its dangers. The children learnt about the water cycle in nature, about the formation of the rainbow, about the white light, the prism, the reverse rainbow (Newton’s Disc), refraction, dispersion and reflection. The kids listened and watched educational clips, PowerPoint presentations, scientific explanations and they made experiments. https://www.esa.int/kids/en/Multimedia/Paxi_animations/Romanian/Circuitul_apei_in_natura, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yVbdcTxp1E&ab_channel=PitiClic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIdE-pqYqbs&ab_channel=KITCHENSCIENCELAB, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCPPLhPTAIk&t=110s&ab_channel=PeekabooKidz

The story of Nicodemus

One day Nicodemus comes to Jesus to find out more about God. Then Jesus explains him that God is Spirit and assembles Him with the wind. We cannot see God, but we feel Him, we see His work and His answers to our prayers. In the same way, we cannot see the air or the wind, but we see its effects, we feel it. So, we (me and my preschool students) decide to learn more about air and wind.

First, the children tried to “see” the wind or the air. So, they could “see” it when they blew a feather or a balloon, when they turn the sheets of the book with the help of a fan, when they span a pinwheel. They “saw” the wind in the moving branches of the trees around them or in the fly of their kite. Running with the kite was a great opportunity to learn a little about aerodynamics. They learnt about the four forces of flight: Lift, Weight, Drag, and Thrust and the gravitational attraction. Searching the right direction of the air motion was a challenge for them. The little investigators also learned about the power of the wind, it benefits, like windfarms that help us to have nonpolluting and sustainable energy, but also the risks, like the windstorms/tornados. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXP1GkN8TV4&t=11s&ab_channel=JanguKids, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vkjz44-aa14&ab_channel=DigiNurture

The Lord’s Supper story

In this story, Jesus is taking the last supper together with his disciples. He teaches them to celebrate this moment over the years, drinking wine and eating bread. This two are the symbols of his blood and body, in order to remember his death and sufferings.

So, we found in this an opportunity to study the human blood, a very interesting activity. First, they watched a scientific explanation about the composition of the blood and the importance of each component. They retained in their mind four components. Plasma helps the blood move through veins and arteries. Red blood cells carry oxygen. White blood cells fight germs, bacteria, and viruses. Platelets help heal cuts. We reconstructed the red and white cells in a nice sensory activity that the children enjoyed very much. In a large plastic container we put water, red water beads and white ping-pong balls. While they explored the “blood”, playing with it, they talked about its parts.

We didn’t talk only about the blood, but also about the hole human body, its parts, external and internal organs. They watched scientific presentations, studied anatomy books and encyclopedia and they made practical representations of different aspects that they learnt.

Regarding the wine and the bread, we reached notions of chemistry literacy like good microbes, single celled organisms, fungus, yeast, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, fermentation, alcohol and Carbon Dioxide, gluten, etc. We also watched scientific presentations and explanations from the internet. We made bread and an experiment with a balloon to demonstrate how yeast works and what happens along the process.  https://www.icanteachmychild.com/what-is-blood-made-of/, https://youtu.be/weLTJXViTQ0, https://youtu.be/qrE6Y0Se8bw

The Easter story

The Easter story is not about the eggs of course. It is about Lord Jesus’ resurrection. The children watched and listened educational movies and PowerPoint presentations in order to establish the true meaning of the Easter. But after that, we found in the custom of painting eggs a great opportunity to try some experiments with eggs.

Along these experiments the kids could tell the difference between a boiled egg and a fresh one just by spinning them. They observed that the egg is not floating in the water, but they found out that they can make an egg float, by adding salt in the glass. Introducing an egg in a bottle was another fantastic challenge for them. Finally, they made a jumping ball from an egg by keeping the egg in vinegar for two days in order to “melt” the eggshell. During this experiment, they observed how the egg became bigger and translucent so that they could see the egg yolk inside. They also could feel the egg that became like a rubber ball and played with it, because it could jump. https://youtu.be/errqz-UeSA8, https://youtu.be/mkVMxxGloVE

The preschoolers were very enthusiastic about these themes and especially the experiments. I usually let them to do the activities by themselves: I tell them what to do, but I let them to work and they are very interested and curious to discover by themselves what is happening. They have to say first their opinion, what they think is going to happen, then I let them to experiment and to draw the conclusions. 

I involved not only the preschoolers, but also their parents. They too were very pleased and excited about the activities. When we were doing these activities at the kindergarten, the children who couldn’t come, asked to send them indications and resources to do them at their homes. Also, during the stem discovery week, in Romania the children had vacation and they were at home. But they were fully involved and I had the total approve and support from their parents. Actually, it was really exciting to do stem activities at their homes despite the vacation.

Due to all these activities, children used and improved their skills in critical thinking and problem solving, they collaborated with each other, they used and developed their creativity. Also, the themes approached were relevant for them, the activities started from real life topics and situations. They ended with answers for their questions, with “wows” and even more curiosity.

Finally, you can find more pictures and videos here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1624845234575087

CAUSE IF IT IS STEM FOR ALL, IT IS SURELY STEM FOR US TOO