By Rachael Albon
“Science is about thinking creatively to try to explain how living and non-living things work, and to establish links between causes and effects” STEM Learning 2019
One of the Wild Challenge activities is to build a home for a mammal. There are a range of options to complete this challenge from buying a bat box or hedgehog home to building one and we, as the RSPB, have provided a step by step guide which is available to download from the Wild Challenge web page...
but… how about turning this challenge into a STEM activity?
Use this opportunity to develop the children’s Engineering Habits of Mind (developed by the Centre for Real World Learning and Royal Academy of Engineering).
Challenge your class to work collaboratively to design and produce a hedgehog house in your school grounds!
Give children (individuals, pairs or groups) large pieces of sugar paper and pens and challenge them to 'design a hedgehog house suitable for a hedgehog to use throughout the year.' If they haven't seen the image the RSPB have provided then they will not base their ideas on this model. You will notice more originality of thought. Once they have thrashed out some ideas together, highlight a group who have worked in a logical way. Have any groups firstly considered what a hedgehog needs from a home? (are children demonstrating a metacognitive approach by planning together first?)
They will need to consider the practical implications of its design; the materials it is made from, how it is fitted together, the location it should be positioned and the size - how suited to the user is it? etc during this planning stage.
Below are some of the main curricular subject areas this style of activity delivers outcomes for;
Technology & Engineering-
By conducting this Wild Challenge activity in this STEM-focused child-led way, the children can take ownership for their contribution to helping wildlife in their school and benefit from the high-quality learning opportunity it provides. The teacher can act as a facilitator by asking questions to prompt consideration where needed - or don't...let the children continue to work through until it becomes apparent to them that they have missed something and they are forced to reconsider. This promotes a metacognitive approach to their learning by having to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning. Working in this way also allows for peer feedback to flourish.
What a super idea for September learning.
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