Prep School STEM Week 2023

Tuesday 21 March 2023 | By Megan Connor

Prep School children had a busy STEM Week, exploring many areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and completing a host of challenges to broaden their knowledge and understanding of what can be achieved through these subjects.  The theme for this year was ‘Connections’ which provided lots of avenues to explore.

Science – Children throughout the Prep School have enjoyed learning about fingerprints and comparing their own to others.  They looked closely at their own fingerprints to determine which shapes they could see; whorls, arches or loops, as well as squeezing in some fingerprint artwork to take home as a souvenir of their learning.  The children have also been interested to learn about DNA, Lower Prep children even having the opportunity to extract DNA from strawberries!  To think more about the genetic codes that make up living things, the children were creative, turning their names into special codons so that they could make bracelets to illustrate a basic DNA structure.  EYFS were also able to explore floating and sinking and magnetism through their engagement with the Little Steamers activities.  Feeling like magicians, they were amazed to learn how to guide an object through a maze using only their magnet and managed to sink their boat using all of Miss Hall’s money!

Technology – Our children are no strangers to coding activities however this week they were tasked with completing the CoderZ challenge.  This Cyber Robotics challenge was sourced from Amazon’s National Tech Ambassadors and provided opportunities to develop both hard and soft skills, alongside an engaging 3D gaming style interface.  Thinking about the impact of climate change, Upper Prep have also completed a Net Zero Superheroes challenge.  This is a national competition where children have been asked to design an invention that would help our school move closer to net zero emissions.  The children were incredibly innovative and we look forward to seeing whether any of our designs catch the attention of the judges.

Engineering –  Engineering was a less familiar area to the children however they willingly accepted many engineering challenges.  Upper Prep tackled a K’Nex challenge to work in groups to build a rollercoaster, thinking carefully about the importance of a sound structure to form a solid base.  Upper Prep also received a talk from a virtual visitor; Trevor Gill, the former chief scientist of Vodafone Research and Development, giving an insight into how engineers can change the world.  Many of the Prep children took part in the Science Buddies Ping Pong challenge, engineering a device to collect a ping pong ball from a distance.  The children worked well to build and strengthen their designs so they could accumulate the most points. Pre-Prep children used female architect Zaha Hadid to inspire the designs of their own buildings.

Mathematics – The mathematics activities have been very varied.  EYFS have explored number patterns and colour mixing, as well as counting and exploring shapes.  Pre-Prep children have enjoyed making shapes using cocktail sticks and sweets, whilst our younger AG&T children were able to explore the rigidity of their shapes, looking at how triangles improved their structural integrity.  Pre-Prep also enjoyed completing a paper chain challenge where they were tasked to create the longest paper chain using only one sheet of A4 paper.  It is amazing how long the children were able to make their chains, thinking carefully about the mathematical concepts involved.  Prep children learnt about the Fibonacci sequence and have used it to create some eye-catching artwork which we look forward to displaying in the Prep corridor soon.

These examples are by no means exhaustive but provide an insight into some of the children’s learning during our STEM Week and the variety of opportunities that the children have been given to broaden their horizons.

We hope our pupils enjoyed an interesting STEM Week!

Mrs Kennedy