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Exploring sounds with STEM starter cards

Child using STEM starter cards

Initially I found myself wondering how I could incorporate the STEM starter cards into a meaningful experience. I decided to lay the cards face down on the table and see how the children would react when they turned them over. I was excited to see how these cards would start a conversation with children about everyday STEM and what that can lead to.

The children were immediately curious about the situations pictured on the cards. Some of the cards turned over were of bees, a windmill, children playing tug-of-war and a rooster. Interestingly, a common reaction was that the children focused on noises they could imagine in the pictures. Using their captivation by sound, I steered the discussions to what children know about the sounds they were thinking of. We discussed ideas like whether the noises were loud of soft. We also explored if we could replicate the noises using just our mouths.

As the discussions continued, the children shared their personal experiences with the pictures they saw on the cards. For example, Child K turned over a card, revealing the rooster. I asked Child K about the noises roosters made. Child K replied with a bawk noise, then added, “They go through the gardens to find bugs.”

The world is full of sounds and we were able to contemplate a variety of sounds through these everyday pictures. Moving forward, we could explore sounds in more detail and compare natural and manmade sounds, for example. This would lead to some fun experiments. I felt that our conversations highlighted the effectiveness of co-constructive learning.

Lynne Graham
Article author: Lynne Graham
Centre director at Toybox Early Learning, NSW

Lynne is one of our STEM leaders who encourages the children to use their senses to discover the world around them.

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