Early STEM Award 2020 - NSW winner
Maroubra Junction Early Education Centre, Maroubra
Demonstrating children’s curiosity and creativity as well as the service’s commitment to inquiry-based STEM learning, this innovative project sees the children following the design process from conception to final product. Building on their recent space project, the children at Maroubra Junction Early Education Centre wondered what and how people eat in space and started exploring nutrition and the practicalities of eating in space. They quickly became fascinated by the difficulties of receiving and eating food in zero gravity and decided to provide a solution for hungry space travellers.
Optimising their product through several design stages, they made one machine that would throw out food, but, on evaluation, decided that it was too big, might set on fire and would not prevent the food from floating. In addition to addressing these functional requirements, the children were also interested in developing an appealing design as they found the space tray currently used on space flights “too boring!”
Child-led from start to end, the project came to its conclusion when the children drew and planned their final design and sourced their own materials, which they then tested for suitability. They assembled and proudly modelled their ‘space food bag machine’, which is worn by the astronaut, who can press buttons to prepare food in the bag and transfer it straight into their mouth through a tube – practical and stylish!
A real-world solution to an out-of-this-world problem
The children took leadership within this project, which highlighted to the educators that the children need more time to explore as a group and to investigate at their own pace. This is a great example of a project developing because of educators’ reflection and their confidence in the children’s abilities. Sometimes we just need to take a step back so that children can reach their full potential.
Thank you for letting us share this highly innovative, quirky curious, out-of-this-world experience