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Little Scientists Early STEM Award – People’s Choice

The Little Scientists Early STEM Award 2018 celebrates early childhood educators’ commitment and dedication to early STEM education and inquiry-based learning. Thank you to everyone who voted for their favourite project. Voting is now closed.

Congratulations to all the Peoples Choice finalists.

and the winner is… MALANGENNA CHILDREN’S CENTRE

Project: Chemical Reactions

From rockets whizzing to volcanos exploding, Malangenna Children’s Centre child led investigations were a blast.

What we said…

We pictured bottles whizzing all over the centre. Building on the children’s interests the centre investigated what made bottle rockets fly.

The children’s ideas were taken into account and they tested their own hypotheses. Repetition is important in science experiments and we can imagine that the rocket experiment is one that will be repeated again and again.

Click the image above to view as a slideshow.

In their own words…

Our project connects to other experiments that we have been doing with bicarb of soda and vinegar. We’ve been experimenting with these ingredients for some time now.

This project is about building a rocket using these active ingredients. The educators asked the children if they would like to research on the internet to find an experiment that involves the use of bicarb and vinegar. We came across a science experiment that involves a bottle, pencils, duct tape, cork, bicarb, vinegar and paper towel (bottle rocket).

We gathered all the resources and ingredients and discussed how we were going to build it, that we needed the pencils to make the rocket stable and the tape to secure the pencils to the bottle. We stood the bottle upright on the pencils to ensure that the bottle (rocket) would stand up and placed all of the ingredients in front of us.

The children measured out how much vinegar they thought they would need and poured it into the bottle. We discussed the mathematics involved, the distance the rocket would fly, the volume of vinegar and how much bicarb they could use.

Peoples Choice Finalists

HENSMAN STREET KINDY, Watching koolbardis (Magpies)

Starting from a bird observation at lunchtime the project lead to bird watching, making bird boxes and nests and investigations into how they and other objects fly.

Click the image above to view as a slideshow.

What we said…

This project was inspiring. From listening to the magpies, building bird boxes to trying to make objects fly, we imagine that the children found the project as fascinating as we did.

We love that the children made their own descriptions and observations of the birds and that connections were made with the local indigenous culture and the community. The project was original but based on common daily occurrences, child-led and hands-on.

In their own words…

The koolbardis would eat lunch with the children each day, so our interest in learning about our new friends and other local birds grew from the day the koolbardi sang for us during our lunchtime. The children then wanted to discover the other birds we had in our area and this became part of our nature walk to the library every week. This lead into wondering how birds fly and experimenting using feathers and air.

We invited a local bird expert in from the City of South Perth, to learn about what it is that allows birds to fly and built bird boxes to invite different local bird species into our lunch space. This allowed us to learn about providing safe havens for birds in urban areas. After learning how birds fly we decided to see if we could try this ourselves.

Several STEM challenges were set up to see how objects could fly. Children came up with great ideas as to how make an object fly through the air without touching it. From here we travelled to Kings Park and made nests for our birds and connected our Noongar language with our learning during this project.

BUTTERFLY CHILDCARE, GUMDALE, Making tracks

Sparking from a group discussion about their interest in cars, the children explored every day and recycled materials to create car tracks, ramps and tunnels.

Click the image above to view as a slideshow.

What we said…

We love the way that Butterfly Childcare Gumdale tapped into the children’s interest and created an engineering project from recycled materials.

The children experimented with different materials and collaborated with each other, sharing information: inquiry-based learning at its best.

In their own words…

Our project was based on a child’s interest in cars. We explored recycled resources and how we could manipulate them to create car tracks, ramps and tunnels. The children discovered that placing various materials on angles affected the speed the car would travel.

They experimented with mathematical concepts of weight by placing planks of wood against various structures while creating car ramps and tracks. They moved the planks to various sections of the garden exploring angles to position the pieces of wood. They collaborated their creative ideas and thoughts as they experimented. The children explored the various properties of glue and masking tape to establish the best method to attach their tracks, ramps and tunnels. They experimented with resources to decide what would work best to achieve their desired outcome.

The children embraced their creative freedom to construct and create while adapting their skills and knowledge to various areas of the room. The children discovered that they could incorporate blocks with recycled resources and anything else they found. They demonstrated problem-solving skills as they used various resources to enable their tracks, ramps and tunnels to be effective.

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