Every morning, someone in my family spills milk. Not much, but just enough for me to recall my mother saying, “What a waste!” But I also remember her patient attitude, “Oh dear, never mind, accidents happen.” It reminds me that milk containers have got bigger and bulkier, that practice makes perfect and that it’s no good crying over spilt milk!
What do you need?
Jugs, old milk containers, cups, saucers, teapots, pebbles, cereal packets full of leaves, spoons, knives, forks and chopsticks
Where to start?
Have a pretend tea party, breakfast, lunch or a classy dinner with different foods from different cultures. Use old jugs, plates and teapots. Set the table with the fork on the left and the knife on the right. You could even add a vase with pretty flowers or some pieces of cloth as napkins. Chat about to the difference pouring from the jug or the three-litre milk container. Ask the children what is easier. Can they think of a reason why it is easier? Why does the teapot have a spout? Which containers work well to hold liquids? Do you pour cereal out of a packet or do you have a special container for it?
What’s the STEM?
This is a lovely design and technology experience. Children can look at the table setting and decide what objects are ‘fit for purpose’: What is it about the jug that makes it easy to pour? They learn about table settings, whether the knife goes on the right or left. What if you are left-handed? Where do you like to put the water glass?
What is it about the jug that makes it easy to pour? The children could try adding clay handles to plastic beakers. Positioning the handle is quite tricky. The ‘pivot’ of the handle can make it easy or hard to pour.
The children could try out different cutlery and try to eat cereal with a children’s spoon or a really large serving spoon. How easy or hard is it to use these spoons to eat cereal? What do the children find easier?
You could look at other things designed for children’s use. What about the chairs in your centre? Are they designed for children? Are they stackable? What’s good about them? What do the children like or dislike? Have they been designed to be comfortable? What makes them comfortable?
Use your explorations to introduce this STEM vocabulary to the children: design, left, right, heavy, light, pour.
Article author: Hayley Bates
National Certifications Coordinator
Hayley has an insatiable thirst for learning – about everything! Her sheer joy of discovery and passion for professional development makes her the perfect person to run the Little Scientist’s House Certification program.