STEM - Room 6

Room 6 has been taking on challenges with paper and with EPro8 kits. They are designed to give students opportunities to work alone or collaboratively to design various structures to meet a specific criteria.

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Benefits of STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)

The Ministry of Education website TKI states;

Students who participate in STEAM learning: 

  • think outside the box
  • feel safe to express innovative and creative ideas 
  • feel comfortable doing hands-on learning
  • take ownership over their learning
  • work collaboratively with others
  • understand the ways that science, maths, the arts, and technology work together
  • become increasingly curious about the world around them and feel empowered to change it for the better.

Day 1 Challenge

  • Using only one sheet of A4 sized paper, students are to design a paper boat which will float.
  • Students can only fold or tear their paper - no tools are to be used.
  • How many sticky bricks will it hold before it sinks?

Students had the choice of using a personal design or researching online for paper boat designs.  Most chose to research designs that were available online. Some chose to develop their own unique design. Either way, decisions and adaptations had to be made to these designs to meet the criteria.

It was a challenge to only use the paper with no tools allowed because my boat design needed me to cut and glue it, so I had adapt the design to make it successful.

I chose to use my own because I didn’t want to do the same as other people - I wanted my design to be different.

It was tricky to build a boat sturdy enough to hold sticky bricks and float. I had to plan where to put the sticky bricks. I put the small ones around the outside and put the big ones in the middle. This made the weight even and so it floated. It only sunk after the 13th brick had been placed on it.

Day 2 Challenge

  • Using only one sheet of A4 paper each, a group of students are to design and make the longest possible paper chain.
  • Students can use scissors and tape.

Working together is an important aspect of learning at school. The Key Competencies of Relating to Others and Participating and Contributing are encouraged through these STEM activities. 

Ana noticed that different people in the group had different jobs to do. Some were cutting, others were taping and joining.

This was good because everyone knew how to do their job properly and focussed on the one job.


Harlem noticed that people were doing what they were good at.

Nic thought it was tricky to work with different people. Jessie agreed and said some people were not listening.

Day 3 Challenge

  • Using Epro8 engineering gear that the school provides, a group of students are to explore and design a moving object.

Student engagement and learning was clear to see and it was noticeable that the Year 5’s and Year 6’s were working well together. Lessons about teamwork had been learnt during the earlier STEM challenges. Although Epro8 was new to Year 5’s, many of them had good knowledge or instincts of how to work with the gear and shared this with others in their group.

Everyone was talking to each other. This was good for sharing ideas and agreeing on something to build. Our builds were successful because we talked.

My partner and I made the car together. We were focussed and listened carefully to each others’ ideas. Our car was successful because it could drive.

The best part was that no one was left out because everyone had a job to do. If they didn’t do their job we wouldn’t be successful.

The hard part was taking it to bits at the end because we had worked so hard to build it and we needed to use the tools to unscrew the wing nuts. This was part of the learning.

Room 6 students responded well to meeting these challenges, both independently and in groups using both simple and complex equipment, while meeting the criteria. 

Searching for STEM or STEAM activities online will help to create fun family times and students will be able to share their STEM learning with you.

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