1st March 18
Last November several of our teachers from Primary and Secondary attended the International STEM4MATH Conference at the University of Valladolid in order to share the experience and methodology of Laude Fontenebro School in this area with the rest of European Schools.
STEM4MATH is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union with the aim of promoting and developing STEM (science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) projects. Laude Fontenebro School was invited to participate to share its experience as one of the pioneers, and to explain how our teachers have developed the STEM Projects in Laude Fontenebro School.
The conference was an opportunity for teachers from different European countries to present their projects and share their experiences and of course, improve them, too.
During the conference the participating schools praised the work done by the area and considered that “Laude Fontenebro School is a marvellous reference in the development of STEM projects” and encourage to Fontenebro Team “to continue sharing his knowledge and experience with them”.
Our 5th year and 6 th year students in Primary as well as our 1st year ESO students were all involved in learning through STEM projects this term.
Our 5th year students completed a STEM project called ‘Time goes by’, an engaging project with activities related to how a sundial works. Among the learning objectives were how to measure the time using the position of the Sun through an objects’ projected shadow and to understand how the position of the Sun allows us to estimate the time of the day. This project involved Mathematics through working with angles and using a scale to draw a plan of the playground. By designing and making their own sundials with recycled materials the students were learning and practising skills that are related to engineering. Through this STEM project the students improved their team working skills and solved many problems together, skills which are key for the 21st century.
Our 6th year students, through their STEM project which we called ‘Join the Green Side’, learned about the value and the need to use natural resources responsibly, reduce waste and reuse what we throw away. The project was divided into two main parts. The first part consisted of the collection of the waste that we generate in the school during a week, classifying it, weighing it. The data was analysed in Mathematics by learning and applying statistical concepts and also the data was used in ICT class to create tables and charts in Google sheets. The second part was scientific as the students were challenged to make soap by reusing oil that had been used in the school kitchen. This they did in our laboratory with the assistance of secondary students. Students were using mathematical skills and learning about proportions to calculate the quantities of the substances that were required. Finally, in Natural Science the students were able to contextualise their knowledge of concepts related to ‘matter’ and ‘energy’ to the chemical processes at work of making the soap.
The STEM project that the 1st years of Secondary completed was called ‘Tomato house’ and consisted of designing a greenhouse to protect plants from the elements, collecting temperature data and then analysing this data to make conclusions, drawing on their knowledge of plants and how they grow.
In Technology class the students learned about planning designs to scale and using 3D design software and the students, in groups, went about building their greenhouses. As part of the Engineering process the students needed to test and improve their constructions. In Mathematics the students learned how to represent data with graphs and then interpret them. In addition they learned the real-world skill of calculating the cost of a project, depending on the materials used. Finally, the students had to apply their skills of calculating areas of various geometric shapes and working to scale.
STEM projects are nothing new to Laude Fontenebro as the First Lego League projects that we have participated in in the last few years bring together these distinct yet related disciplines in an engaging way for the students. That said, we are always looking to improve and therefore to be involved with this international educational project has been a very productive experience for the teachers who were guiding the students through the projects and an extremely engaging one for the students.