Turn an ordinary sewing needle into a compass, with the help of a magnet.
- A small bowl (not a metal one)
- A small piece of cork or foam
- A sewing needle
- A bar magnet
- A compass
What To Do
- Place some water in the bowl so the cork/foam can float easily.
- Hold the needle firmly on the bench with one finger on one end.
- Take the bar magnet and stroke the needle firmly with the South pole end, all the way from the eye to the tip. Do this at least 50 times, stroking the whole length of the needle in the same direction each time.
- Push the needle through the middle of the cork/form, then float it gently in the water.
- Allow the needle to orient itself. If you place a compass next to the bowl, you will find the compass needle and the floating needle will be pointing in the same direction – North.
A wonderfully simple exploratory activity for little scientists that incorporates plenty of scientific thinking.
- A magnet, such as a or
- An assortment of metal and non-metal household items such as: A key, some coins, a food can, a soft drink can, a metal spoon, a wooden spoon, a gold or silver necklace, a paper clip, aluminium foil, a baking tray, a metal toy car, a plastic toy, a small piece of wood, a small glass marble or glass jar, a rubber band, and a cork.
- Two large bowls or containers, labeled ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
What To Do
- Hand the child the magnet and let them work their way through the samples, sorting the magnetic ones into the ‘Yes’ bowl and the no
- To understand that the flower is the reproductive centre of the plant.
- To identify the key parts of the flower involved in reproduction.
What You Need:
- A selection of different flowers, particularly those with a ‘classic’ structure, such as hibiscus or lilium.
- A pair of tweezers
- A scalpel or another small, sharp blade
- Any magnification tools, such as a magnifying glass, viewer or microscope will also be helpful.
What to do:
Use the tweezers (or very gently, your fingers) to remove the petals on one side of the flower.
Use the diagram below as a guide to identify the following parts on your flower:
Anther: The parts that produce pollen grains. Each pollen grain contains a male sex cell. There will be more than one anther on the flower.
Filament: The long strands that attach
Balloon Powered Car:
Design a car that is able to move the furthest using the power of just one balloon. Materials might include bricks such as Lego, or recycled materials, or a set amount of materials.
STEM TASK: CAMOUFLAGING ART
What is an adaptation?
An adaptation is a physical or behavioral characteristic that an organism has developed over time to increase its chances of survival in a particular environment.
What is camouflage?
Camouflage is a method of making oneself hard to detect. An animal may be trying to conceal its appearance, sound, or scent. The term is used most often to describe an animal blending into its surroundings. Camouflage is an adaptation.
What are some different types of camouflage?
The most common type of camouflage is background matching. That means the animal is blending into its surroundings and is therefore more difficult to see. This
STEM TASK: CODING A PIRATE
“Computers are amazing, but they can’t think for themselves (yet!). They require people to give them instructions. Coding is a list of step-by-step instructions that get computers to do what you want them to do. Coding makes it possible for us to create computer software, games, apps and websites.” https://www.learningpotential.gov.au/what-is-coding
Materials: cardboard, lego pieces and sticky notes.
CODING A PIRATE
Will the Captain of the ship stop the pirate from stealing the jewels? Use basic coding to find out!
- Set out the obstacles as you like in any of the squares.
- Place your characters on the stars. They can face whatever direction you choose.
- Use the sticky notes to select the direction of movement.
STEM ACTIVITY: Designing a Wind Powered Car
Middle to Upper Primary
Book: Ollie and the Wind (Ronojoy Ghosh)
Key Concepts: Energy Transformation, Engineering Design process, Forces, Measurement.
In Victoria, we generate most of our electricity from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are considered a polluting, non-renewable form of energy. It is the job of future engineers to develop clean and sustainable means of producing energy for both electricity and to power our cars.
Energy is the ability to do work. Energy comes in many forms: chemical energy, electrical energy, heat energy, light energy, mechanical energy and nuclear energy. Wind energy is a form of renewable energy that comes from wind. Other types of renewable energies include slow but steady tidal power, geothermal power (only possible in some areas, tapping heat from deep in the Earth), and biofuels (fuels derived from plants and algae). These energy types
STEM TASK: TANGRAMS
Middle Primary School
Key Concepts: Geometric Shapes in man made structures or nature.
Artists have been taking inspiration from their surroundings for centuries and using geometric shapes to represent it. Man made and natural structures also provide excellent examples of geometric shapes.
An urban landscape
Egg Drop Challenge:
Design a contraption that protects a falling egg (or water balloon) when it is dropped from a set height. Set a limited amount of resources. Resources could be anything recycled.
Possible contexts could be helmet design, parachutes, landing a rover on Mars.
Design and build a free-standing bridge that will support as much weight as possible. The bridge must span an opening of 30 cm and must be wide enoguh for a toy car to drive over it. (Materials can vary for this task: Spaghetti could be used again, or plastic straws, balsa wood, string, paddle pop sticks, masking tape, drawing pins, etc.)
Extra challenge and extra maths: The bridge must be as light as possible. The bridge with the best ‘strength to weight’ ratio wins.