From some of the quirkiest minds inside the Little Scientists team come some personal insights into experiencing and exploring STEM in the world around you. With this collection of curious facts and observations, we aim to inspire you to find STEM in the everyday.
Rays, including manta rays, stingrays and spotted eagle rays move in a particularly graceful way – a swirling dance I will never tire of. Immerse yourself in the children’s classic Commotion in the ocean and you too will fall in love with the movement of the oceans.
Who doesn’t love sea otters? And, now I know they have pockets and favourite rocks, I love them even more! Otters are tool users. They select special rocks that are suitable for cracking open clams and molluscs and store these rocks in the baggy pockets of loose skin they have under each forearm. What tools do humans use?
Each seahorse has a crown, called a coronet, which is a unique identifier. Just like seahorses can be distinguished by their coronets, humans can be distinguished by their fingerprints. Encourage the children to investigate their own fingerprints and compare them with others’.
Impactful early experiences help to shape our personality and create personal life-long values. Cleaning your local stream, building a water purification system or investigating other ways to protect our environment in a child-led way, could be the spark to ignite the passion for sustainability in the environmentalists of tomorrow.
There are 17 species of penguin, ranging in height from 20-130cm tall. By measuring and recording heights, children learn skills important for scientific research. They also use criteria for classification and STEM language.
What do you know about tessellations and why do turtle shells form hexagons? My hypothesis is that hexagons have a larger surface area to smaller perimeter ratio. What is your hypothesis? What are the children’s?
Do dolphins and whales have ears? How do earthworms hear? Why are ears shaped the way they are? Would dolphins and whales create more drag if they had external ears? Does long hair make a difference when moving through water? This STEM activity examines these questions and much more.
The blue whale is the biggest animal that has ever lived (that we know of), bigger than an elephant and bigger than any of the dinosaurs we have found. This activity explores one of the reasons why it has been able to evolve to be SO BIG!
Find a cosy place to sit with the children and ask everyone to close their eyes. What can they hear? You will be surprised how many sounds the children notice when everybody is quiet. For many children, this might be the first time they consciously absorb the sounds around them and they might wonder, ‘Why have I never heard this sound before?’, ‘Can I ignore a sound if I decide to?’