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STEAM comes to Sandown....

posted 12 Jul 2018, 01:41 by Katrina Heather   [ updated 12 Jul 2018, 03:49 ]

For anyone unsure of what STEAM is; it is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

Over the last 8 weeks, in an after-school club, 12 Year 7 students have undertaken a range of activities concerned with food.   The students initially looked at seasonal vegetables, and decided to plant a range of crops in our garden, after spending time preparing the soil, by digging, weeding and hoeing they planted seeds of a range of plants of seasonal plants, such as carrots, broad and runner beans.  The results have been mixed, what with the dry and very warm conditions we have faced but we have had some success, especially with the lettuce.

Following this we have spent time considering packaging in supermarkets and garden centres and have made biodegradable alternatives to the plastic pots and bags that are still used.  Students investigated how to make bioplastics using a range of scientific techniques such as following a method, measuring, heating and cooling and neutralisation, and were amazed at the stages and consistency their product went through, especially the large slow bubbles.  After exploring these plastics, the students then used their preferred bioplastics combined with a biodegradable material to make a carry home bag. We also investigated the viability of making paper pulp pots and made various sizes and shapes using different techniques. They found this process very messy but great fun.

Most recently the students were able to make bread and a salad dish, to take home for family and friends using vegetables similar to the ones planted in our garden.  In this activity, students were able to taste and use the different vegetables unfortunately not many enjoyed the broad beans, which they had spent time shelling and use their creativity to shape their bread rolls and in the way the cut and prepared vegetables.

It is the first time that I have undertaken a project which covers so many areas of the curriculum and I am sure the students would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the staff who helped in preparing resources for the students to use and staff who helped delivered some of its elements.  

I know they like myself have enjoyed working with an enthusiastic group of students and although the project has finished this year I would like to think that these students will become my STEAM ambassadors and help deliver an even better programme, next year.  

Mr Lockey