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Creative Sparks - Winter Term

In the second term we decided that we would like the term once again to end with a celebration and create the opportunity for the children to be rewarded for all of their creativity and input. To achieve this we began the Crest Award activities - Crest is a scheme that inspires young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers. This allowed us to further explore the children's previously identified interests and to work with them to apply scientific methodologies when completing their own hands-on investigations.

We started by building nests using materials foraged from the area outside the library. The children used different materials and building techniques to create their own bird nests, these were then tested in different conditions for durability and comfort for our imaginary bird friends.

Our next task had an engineering focus, we aimed to build bridges using simple materials to reach across gaps between two tables. The children worked in groups of four to design and build their bridges. Their designs were then tested over a vat of water by seeing if characters from the story box were able to cross each bridge without them collapsing.

The children really enjoyed the challenge of using water to test their creations so following our bridge experiments the next week they worked in groups to create water rafts. These again were tested by trying to keep the story box characters afloat.

For another session we conducted experiments with chromatography by using ink from felt tip pens and the reactions to water to separate the colours. This helped the children to understand different chemical reactions as well as creating some fun and interesting designs.

This term's special guest joined us for our next session - Joe Tomlinson, a PHD research student from the University of Nottingham, specialising in Genetics. Joe co-facilitated the session where we learned about DNA, what it is and how it works. The children learned this through discussion and the creative task of making their own colourful DNA bead bracelets to understand pattern making and connections between different genetic elements.

Carrying on our exploration of colour, in the next session we learned how High visibility works and experimented with different materials to create the most effective high visibility clothing. To test the outcomes of this task we ended the session with a ‘fashion’ show where the children wore their creations and strutted their stuff lit by each other's torches to see how visible their High Vis creations really were.

For the last sessions of this term and in the lead up to Christmas we retuned to one of the groups favorite's - Creatures and their environments. They worked together to create a large 'Monster Map' representing each monsters character and environments. They collaboratively told a story featuring each of their monsters on a journey: encountering challenges and defeating obstacles to reach their destination or save the planets that they inhabit. For the final session as a celebration of their ideas and imaginations we brought the characters from their stories to life by creating 'Monster masks'. They made sure to have the correct number of eyes, mouths, sharp teeth and claws to survive in their imagined landscapes.

Parents where invited to join the session to see the masks and hear the stories, last but not least to see the children receiving their Crest Awards and badges! Through out the term we have completed eight different Crest award tasks and learned about STEM subjects through creative problem solving and team work. Each Child went home happy with a monster mask, award certificate and star badge!


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