STEM at Giffard Park Primary School
At Giffard Park Primary School, the aim of teaching STEM is to inspire and engage our children, and to prepare them for their future life and career path.
Throughout the year our children have had a range of opportunities to explore the STEM subjects. We have had STEM themed days and weeks, taken our learning outside, been on trips with a STEM focus and had virtual sessions with STEM ambassadors to learn about a range of careers.
Please have a look at our Intent, Implementation, Impact document for an in depth look at our STEM aims.
Foundation / Year 1
Foundation and Year 1 have had a wonderful time watching the egg hatching process in school. They were able to use their counting skills to check the number of chicks, science to explore the life cycle process, technology to record observations and engineering to discover what materials and resources were need for the chicks to live in.
The children in Foundation and Year 1 were also delighted with their 'Dino Day'. They spent the day exploring the past as archaeologists, making scientific discoveries, identifying patterns and they even met a dinosaur!
Year 2 visited the farm to explore living things in their habitats. They used technology to record similarities and differences in the animals, explored the engineering of the animal's habitats and discussed the changes in the animals as they grow.
This term, Year 3 have been learning all about light. They have explored how to use torches to achieve shadows and reflections. They took their learning outdoors to discuss how shadows can change throughout the day due to the positioning of the sun. They drew around each other's shadows on the pavement and coloured them in with vibrant colours.
Year 3 also went to the Milton Keynes Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey to become Romans for the day. Here they linked their learning to the STEM subject by becoming archaeologists, exploring the past using different engineering equipment, drawing conclusions using scientific understanding and taking measurements of their discoveries. They also explore the ingredients and measurements for Roman medicines!
During the summer term, Year 4 had the pleasure of being visited by Mrs Thomas (a respiratory nurse) and learnt about how lungs work, the effects of smoking and asthma. During the session, the children conducted a lung capacity experiment using balloons, tape measures and one breath. Afterwards, they presented their data in a table of results and created a class graph on excel. The children loved meeting someone from our local community and had many questions about her job!
Year 4 went on an educational visit to experience Electra, a new, fully electric community canal boat for Milton Keynes. They were lucky enough to step aboard Electra for a peaceful, relaxing cruise along the Grand Union Canal. They made links to their unit in science (electricity) by understanding how the boat was powered and moved and seeing its motor and batteries. The children were also able to engage in concepts such as waterway ecology, canal history and heritage, travel and transport, pollution and environmental impact. They looked at the engineering of the canal and used technology to record their observations.
Year 5 have been completing some STEM learning outdoors this term. As part of their science topic of space, they have been learning about the planet's orbits and day and night. Year 5 went outside at regular intervals throughout the day to draw around their shadows and make observations. We noticed the length of the shadow changed throughout the day and used technology to record our observations. We were then able to take this learning back to the classroom to make links to the Earth's rotation and its orbit around the sun.
To learn about how time was monitored in the past, we made sundials: the oldest known instrument for telling time. We were able to track time accurately by monitoring where the sun cast a shadow.
Year 5 visited Bletchley Park in April where they explored the engineering advancements made during the World War II. Whilst there, they took part in a codes and ciphers workshop using computational thinking and mathematical skills to crack a range of ciphers!
In June, Year 5 visited the National Space Centre in Leicester. Here they explored the engineering marvels of space travel, the technological advancements made during the space race, compared the sizes of the planets relative to the sun and deepened their understanding of our solar system. To complete the trip, they visited the planetarium for an astronaut education!
In Summer term, Year 6 did an investigation into the effect of exercise on their pulse rate. They measured their resting pulse rates then split into groups. Each group decided on a sporting activity to undertake and then measured their pulse rates immediately after completing it. They then continued to take their pulse rates every minute for a further 5 minutes, using technology to ensure accurate timings. This was all completed outside on the field. The following day they plotted all of their data onto line graphs and then analysed their findings as part of a maths lesson. This all tied in with our current science unit - Animals including humans.
Year 6 enjoyed a great day out at Legoland. They enjoyed taking part in a Junior Robotics workshop where they practised their programming and engineering skills.