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Coningsby St Michael's Church of England Primary School

Believe. Aspire. Succeed.

2022-2023 - STEM after school club Term 2

This week in STEM Club children have been learning all about Isambard Kingdom Brunel who designed and built boats. Brunel’s boat was made from iron and driven by propellers. The most important challenge of all was to ensure this heavy vessel would float. Whether an object sinks or floats depends on the gravitational (downwards) force and the buoyancy (upwards force – also called upthrust). When a boat enters the water, it pushes aside (displaces) a volume of water. The buoyancy created is equal to the weight of this displaced water. The boat’s volume (and weight) depends on the boat’s material and the air that is inside it. For a boat to float, the buoyancy pushing up must be equal to or greater than the gravitational force pulling it down. So, if the weight of water displaced is equal to or greater than the weight of the boat, the boat will float.

Children had to work together to construct a boat that will float a certain distance (when pushed) without sinking. This must be done whilst carrying a number of marbles. The number of marbles should be increased for each test to see how strong the vessel is. The initial challenge was for children to explore the equipment. Children could also ask for a ‘top tip’ as a group if they find the challenge difficult.

This week in STEM club children have been learning about Emily Roebling who was the first woman field engineer. She undertook most of the work of the Chief Engineer and project-managed the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband was taken ill. The bridge is one of the most famous in the world. Children used different resources to build a bridge across two tables that would hold a 50g weight.

This week in STEM club children have been looking at facts about Leonardo Da Vinci, besides his art work, he also created designs for flying machines, solar power, armoured vehicles and adding machines, years before the technology existed to create them. He also made discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics and hydrodynamics. Children made hoop gliders out of two different lengths of paper and used them to form hoops; securing hoops to either end of the straw and launching the straw with the smaller hoop at the front to watch it fly!

This week in STEM club we have been looking at the work of Rube Goldberg who won a Pulitzer Prize as well as many other honours and awards for his cartoons. His work is the inspiration for many cartoons, films and even board games, such as Mouse Trap. Children were give a tennis ball and container and encouraged to work backwards from the ball going into the container. For example: a container could be laid sideways or attached the end of the table with the tennis ball in front of it. Children then worked to set in place a mechanical chain reaction to push the ball forwards. This could be triggered by dominoes falling, toys rolling down ramps etc. Children were encouraged to test, adapt and add to their chain reaction in the time they had.