In Year 1, our Integrated Studies topic is all about creativity, specifically about robots and the creative elements that they have.
One of the first tasks was to draw exactly what I told them to. I was very vague with my instructions, only telling them the shape – but not the size or position, which meant that no drawings actually looked like a ladybug at the end.
I then asked students to draw what they thought a robot looked like, trying to use shapes that they we brainstormed so it would be easier to describe later. Then the students wrote a set of instructions to direct another person as to how to draw their robot.
I told them that I would share the instructions with other students and classes and then we could compare their robots with the original robot drawing!
This term in Integrated Studies, our unit in Prep/1 is Topsy-Turvy Tales, with a focus on creativity.
Last week we watched Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs and then I read the story from a book. We listed the similarities and differences between the 2 presentations.
We started talking about the ‘materials’ instead of ‘building stuff’ that the pigs used and talked about mathematical terms such as strong, weak, light and heavy. I’d seen lots of STEM-based ideas on Pinterest about getting students to build houses for the 3 Little Pigs and using the hairdryer as the Big, Bad Wolf.
Yesterday, students worked in pairs to build a house to protect one little pig from the hairdryer wolf. I provided the following materials:
- a blue placemat (the house was required to sit on top of this placemat)
- a toy pig per pair
- plastic cups & plates
- coloured magnetic rods
- craft sticks
- wooden skewers
- cotton buds
- coloured paper
- rubber bands
- PVA glue
- sticky tape
How does STEM fit into this activity?
S(cience): we talked as a group about how strong different materials are, what they are made of (plastic, wood etc) and which materials may blow away in the ‘wind’ from the wolf
T(echnology): following the building, students used Flipgrid on their iPad to reflect on their finished structure
E(ngineering): there were lots of questions such as ‘How can we make this stronger?’, ‘What else could we use instead?’, plus comments such as ‘This doesn’t bend or stand up straight like we need it to’.
M(athematics): students needed to make sure that their given pig fit inside their building through informal measurement, plus lots of chatting about how high the walls should be and how tall the pig was.
Surprisingly(!) none of the pigs were affected by the ‘wolf’s’ blowing! Some of the houses were more 2D than 3D though, so today we talked about the features of a house that protect people – like walls and a roof! The pair who used a cardboard box to simply place over the top of their pig weren’t supposed to use a cardboard box either – they pinched it from the cupboard!!
Pretty sure the teacher had the most fun too…using the hairdryer to blow down houses was very cool!