Our STEMpathy Showcase was a great success. After weeks of hard work, it was fantastic to welcome so many parents and relatives to Esker to see the results. After the adults had left, we invited all of the children from 3rd Class, 4th Class and 5th Class. Any siblings in the junior classes got to come too!
The showcase began with a screening of a documentary film made by 5th Class. This film can be viewed above and documents the process of our project from the beginning. Of course, the end was the showcase itself. Having worked closely with two scientists from Technological University Dublin, Gerry and Lucy, it was important that we closed the showcase with a presentation of well-deserved certificates. This presentation was similar to a graduation, and allowed us to experience how perseverance in education is rewarded. This reward was also felt in the praise loaded upon us by the visitors to our showcase and the sense of achievement that this gave us.
Scratch is a visual programming language that we can use to create games and animations. In Fifth Class, we code with Scratch every week as part of our Maths stations...so we decided to share our expertise with our younger peers.
We created a series of lessons for 2nd Class that aimed to teach them computational thinking and coding. These lessons, which included unplugged computational thinking, programming Beebots and an introduction to Scratch, were delivered by 5th Class to the younger children over the course of a week. We then presented the 2nd Class group with a final assignment; to create a Scratch animation complete with beginning, middle and end! We even graded them using an assessment rubric! (We were very generous, of course!!)
The first group introduced the 2nd Class students to unplugged computational thinking. The children had to create an algorithm that told their partner how to draw a monster.
The second group taught the children how to use an algorithm in order to program a number of Beebots so that they perform a synchronised dance.
Group 3 extended the learning that had taken place in the first two sessions and introduced Scratch for the first time with the help of the ‘Getting Started’ online tutorial.
Group 4, meanwhile, allowed the 2nd Class children a chance to follow the ‘Animate a Character’ tutorial so as to familiarise them with the blocks they would need for their final assignment.
Of course, like all good teachers, 5th Class made sure to identify their learning objectives (WALT= We are Learning to) when planning their lesson, and to include a warm-up activity and a good mix of didactic teaching and active learning in their delivery. Wow! There are definitely some natural teachers among us, though Niamh did take issue with Abdullah's assertion that teaching was 'easy.' Not always, Abdullah!!!!
All of this meant that, by the time Friday rolled around, 2nd Class were ready to create some amazing animations! Click on the examples below and have a look. Brilliant work by all. Maith sibh!
We used digital media to 'Tell a Story Without Words.' First, we created a sequence of sounds, with an accompanying graphic score. Given a theme, we wrote a very short story with beginning, middle and end. We found sounds that could replace the words. We found symbols that could represent those sounds. We used those symbols to create a graphic score.
Then, we recorded our composition and matched each individual sound to a visual image or video in order to make a movie. This took a bit longer.
We took on different roles within the group as either 'Creative Director,' 'Sound Engineer' or 'Project Manager' so that we could sketch our storyboard for our movie and decide upon, create and record the sounds within a strict time schedule!
Thanks to our neighbouring classes, who were very understanding as we recorded sounds like 'children shouting' and spread out into the corridor for space!
Even when we had completed our movie, our project wasn't finished! We were then tasked with recording each stage of the process using BookCreator. We used the eBook that we made to help us with our final presentations. Check out the links to these eBooks below! Super work by all!
In the Jungle
Under the Sea:
On the Bus:
On the Moon:
Teamwork is so important. To be an effective member of a team, we must practise essential skills such as collaboration, communication, leadership and time management.
Below, you can see how we often decide on important qualities in a team member in advance of a group activity. After our activities, we reflect on what went well and the areas upon which we can improve!
Presented with an array of materials, we chose those we thought most suited to making a successful air canon. These videos show you the very creative results!
When conducting a Science experiment, it is important to ensure that it is a fair test. Do you think this video is proof of a fair test....or are some people edging past the start line with their catapults?
Our experiments with Makey Makeys allowed us to gain an understanding of circuits in a most unusual way...by making a banana keyboard. We investigated which other materials conduct electricity too, and changed traditional music notes on a stave to symbols that allowed us to play Ode to Joy using fruit and tinfoil!!!
From there, we combined our knowledge of Makey Makeys with our coding expertise to make something really fun. We code every week during Maths stations using Scratch, a visual programming language that allows us to create games and animations. When we hooked our Makey Makey kit up to Scratch, we managed to make a cardboard controller for a game we programmed ourselves that actually works!! Just look!