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.
Spaghetti and Marshmallow tower:
A variation on the Marshmallow Challenge, where this time marshmallows can be used to form part of the structure. Build the highest, free-standing structure possible out of 30 marshmallows and 20 pieces of raw spaghetti. (For extra challenge: The structure must support the weight of a book).
Build the highest, free-standing structure from 20 sticks of (uncooked) spaghetti, one metre of string and one metre of masking tape, in just 18 minutes. The tower must be able to support a marshmallow at the top.
Book: WHO SANK THE BOAT? Pamela Allen
Songs: “ROW, ROW, ROW Your Boat” and “A Sailor went to See See See"
Key Concepts: Buoyancy, Hydrophobic materials, boat construction and mass.
When a boat floats, it settles into the water, pushing the water aside to make room for itself. The force that it is pushing the boat into the water is called gravity. It is a two way pushing match, however. Water pushes back onto the bottom of the boat. This force, called buoyancy holds the boat out of the water. The more water a boat pushes aside, the more force there will be pushing back on the boat and supporting it. This is why a boat’s size and shape makes such a difference in how much of a load it can carry without sinking.
Preserve A Spider Web
Spiders are not just creepy and crawly, they are truly one of nature’s great artists. Spiders produce silk that they use to catch bugs, usually by spinning a beautiful web.
In this activity, be a spider scientist and capture and preserve a delicate spiderweb to study.Suitable for kids aged 10+ with parental supervision.
- Empty spiderweb
- Talcum powder
- Black construction paper
- Hair spray
What to do:
- Head outside, in the backyard, school ground or nature trail in search of an unoccupied spider web. To find out if the web is empty, tap it very lightly. You will see the spider move if it is occupied, and you will need to find another web to preserve. Look carefully in tall grass and bushes.
The Mouldy Bread Experiment
- Students will develop and/or refine their skills in designing and conducting experiments.
- Students will understand the factors that promote and prevent the growth of mold on bread.
Equipment required (per student or pair of students):
- 2 slices of bread each cut into halves.
- 4 small ziplock bags
- 4 sticky labels and pen
- Access to water, a fridge and perhaps a toaster (optional)
Some moldy bread in a sealed bag for demonstration purposes.
Show the mouldy bread to the students to prompt a discussion. (You could give it a little backstory, e.g. ‘I