Playful Science for Everyone
Kate Greenaway is a children's centre serving families with young children in a diverse community in central London.
The aims were to inspire and engage staff, children and families in early science experiences: our project had four key aspects:
Introducing Engineering via Animatronics
The project began as an afterschool girls-only animatronics club. Those girls then took on the role of advisors to the boys as they joined the club later in the year. With new members, the club is still made up of over 50% girls. After mastering the basics of animatronics, the pupils go on to design, build and program their own models using 2D design software linked to a computer-controlled cutting machine. Scaling their designs, selection of materials and techniques for purpose and performance sees the pupils engineering rather than just making the models.
Increased collaboration between the Physics, Computing and Design and Technology departments at school has been a key feature of the project. So much so that aspects of the project such as CADCAM and robotic control have been incorporated into all three curricula so that every pupil now benefits from a cross-curricular introduction to engineering at our school.
If You Go Down in the Woods Today
An interdisciplinary topic, the initial aim of the project was to develop a curiosity and understanding of the environment and our place in the living, material and physical world, through a child led investigation into the effects of the introduction of 'foreign' trees and plants to Scotland, on the indigenous insect population.
Enthusiasm for the project, led to its expansion into research into rainforests, endangered species and life-cycles, as well as a collaborative effort by teachers, children and the wider community to develop a range of progressive learning experiences, which really engaged the children.
Indoor and outdoor activities allowed children and staff to work together to develop their skills of scientific inquiry and investigation, and develop and encourage their understanding of the positive and negative impact humans have on the environment.
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