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Sherborne House celebrated STEM week (short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) from March 5th to 9th, with the children participating in daily activities to encourage and foster greater understanding and enjoyment in these areas of the curriculum.

On Monday, we met the slightly ‘mad’  Professor Nitrate who guided us through a science tour of discovery including understanding the magic of lift and the power of pressure as well as experiencing explosions up close and personal! Many of the activities needed audience participation with volunteers keen to try out the experiments. The concept of thrust was demonstrated firstly with a small ball and a hair dryer but then advanced to a much larger ball and a leaf blower.
On Tuesday and Wednesday Zoolab visited the school bringing with them a variety of animals for the children to touch, hold and learn about. Each class had a visit from the various animals with many of the children growing in confidence when seeing, touching and handling, even holding and stroking a giant hissing cockroach! There was a tortoise, guinea pig, corn snake and Zoolab also brought a tarantula but we were not allowed to touch that, it was safely kept in its transparent box.
On Tuesday afternoon, KES Roadshow came to SHS with staff and pupils of the school demonstrating a variety of experiments on the science of sound to our Year 5 and 6 children. Audience participation was again encouraged with lots of opportunities to join in, from the playing of instruments, firing an airzuka (an air sling shot) to a demonstration of airwaves with torches.
At Sherborne House, we have buddy classes which means that two classes can pair up for activities and Wednesday provided an opportunity for this when children were working on activities in technology and engineering.
Year 6’s buddy class is Pre-Reception and after a discussion as to what challenge they could be given, Year 6 decided that a paper aeroplane building and testing task would be the most suitable. They constructed their planes and then went outside for the test flight.
5E challenged 1M to create a simple catapult out of lolly sticks, elastic bands and  a bottle lid. After making them, they discussed how they could test how good they were and went outside to test fire two rounds of measured shots, marking landing places with coloured spots.
1J and 5P were given a range of challenges based around building different structures with sweets! For challenge number one, they had to work in teams to create the tallest freestanding structure possible using twenty marshmallows and pieces of dry spaghetti. The children had to consider how the structure should be assembled to ensure it had a strong base. They also took on the challenge of building a strong wall that would stay standing under pressure out of liquorice allsorts. The children worked brilliantly in teams and were very thoughtful and creative in their approaches.
In Year 3 and Reception, the children worked in teams to build the tallest bridge using only paper. They had to fold the paper into triangles in order to make the bridge taller, longer and stronger. It was a challenging task as the pupils had to be patient when the bridges kept falling down!
Year 4 and Year 2 were given the challenge of making a bridge using just paper! They looked at examples of different shaped bridges from around the world and discussed the shapes that made bridges particularly sturdy. They experimented using different shapes and folding techniques and then tested their bridges to see if they could support the weight  of something in the classroom.
On Thursday as part of our STEM week, we had Sherborne House Maths is Magic day. The day started with an assembly where Miss Currey introduced the day and shared clips of magicians including Issy Simpson from Britain’s Got Talent working their magic.  After this, the whole school were treated to a Maths Magician show where they were shown number tricks involving dice and other props.  The Maths Magician even read some of the teacher’s minds and encouraged measuring competitions between staff and pupils. Throughout the day, classes were involved in a workshop where they learnt how to perform some of their own magic maths tricks.  Back in the classrooms, pupils learnt some more magic tricks with their teachers.  They designed and made their own magician props such as wands and hats which they wore when performing their own magic shows in groups. Throughout the day the pupils learnt how maths is in everything that we do and they even took part in Stop, Drop and Maths – when they whistle blew they had to drop everything to complete a maths challenge. It was a brilliant day and it was clear to see the children’s enthusiasm for maths and magic as the day went on.
On Friday, children attended the Codebreaking Workshop where they were introduced to the Morse Code through a system of moves on a large mat depending on whether it was a dot or a dash. They had to follow the given signal on the mat until they discovered the letter that the sound represented and then find what letter this represented in a code to make various words. However, these words were in German so providing another challenge!
On Friday, the children in the lower part of the school visited the farm which had set up on the front lawn. Despite the rain showers, they were able to enjoy the company of pigs, goats, donkeys, sheep (who serenaded us during our assembly in the Wise Hall), chickens, ducks and a cockerel.
The children worked enthusiastically in all the activities and gained much from the different experiences.
Published on 09/03/2018