Make a pulley What you’ll need: string/ wool, pencils, junkmodelling materials including small pots, tape, scissors The hook: Read or paraphrase the fairy tale Rapunzel and discuss how engineers, designers and inventors always start with a problem they want to solve. Activity (30-45 mins): EmpathisewithRapunzel as a class to identify the problems she faces (does she get headaches?). Narrow in on solving the problemof getting things up her tower without climbing her hair and discuss some possible solutions. Introduce pulleys with examples of how they’re used to lift heavy things by looping the rope over awheel orwheels.While pulleys themselves areKS2 content, this is a great extended activity to get children thinking aboutmachines and solving problems. In groups, children can build their own pulleys as follows: l Build a tower out of boxes, tubes etc. Focus on strength and stability. l Model making a basket out of a small cup or container and tying the string on. l Add something to the top of the tower to function as the pulley for the string to loop over. This could be a pencil, straw or bottle neck. Activity (15 mins): Each group should use a pencil to lightly draw a line, shape or word across a piece of paper. Put a counter at one end. Next, one child holds the iPad still and snaps the first photo. Other group members move the object along the lines a tiny bit, taking a photo at each new location. Use at least 20 photos. Press play and watch the film, then reflect on the results and consider what could be improved. It’s worth having a go at shooting your own stop-motion film beforehand so you can take children through the steps carefully. Take it further: Create a 2D stop-motion picture linked to a topic you’re covering. Draw a background on one piece of paper and then separately draw and cut out a moving piece. For example, this could be a garden with a butterfly as the moving piece. Create stop-motion videos with the moving piece and try incorporating other moving parts too. Stop-motion can be linked to literacy and class topics as pupils make videos of their own 3D stories. | 63 l Loop the string over the pulley and have children pull down to make the basket go up. Construct with craft sticks What you’ll need: Every classroom should have a collection of craft sticks for engineering practice. Add some tape, paper cups and pegs and you’ll have a term’s worth of short engineering challenges. Activity (15 mins): There are hundreds of possible craft stick challenges, but simple ones to start with include: l Tallest tower with craft sticks and tape l Tallest tower with craft sticks and paper cups l Bridge across a 15cmgap with craft sticks and tape l Build the best catapult – measure the distance an object is thrown Pupilswill start to better understand how to construct frames as they progress through different challenges. Let them start with their own structures before showing examples.Why not finish every Friday afternoon with a craft stick challenge? Invent with junk What you’ll need: paper, pencil, junkmodellingmaterials, tape, scissors. The hook: Read Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones to discuss finding solutions to problems by inventing new things. STEM SPEC I AL @inventorsm Laura Cross is a former primary teacher and worked as head of curriculum at a Californian edtech company. She set up Inventors &Makers in 2019 and runs workshops and classes focusing on STEM, design and 21st century skills. l Arrange opportunities for children to work in small groups.This improves collaboration and communication. l Emphasise experimentation and enquiry.Allow children to formpredictions andmake discoveries themselves. l Encourage problem- solving.When pupils ask for help, use questioning to encourage them to find their own solutions. l Make time to reflect at the end of every activity. What went well?What could they improve? l Start collecting junk modellingmaterials and build your own engineering supply box containing tape, craft sticks, straws, string, foil, cling film, etc. HOW TO DEVELOP PUPILS’ STEM SKILLS Activity (20 mins): Come up with a problemas a class, perhaps linked to a class topic, or give each group their own simple problem, eg ‘You are a bird and haven’t got anywhere for your bird family to live.’ Give each small group a random selection of junkmodellingmaterials plus tape and scissors. Give them a time limit to come up with a solution to their problemusing thematerials. If time allows they could draw and label the invention first before they start building and present these to the rest of the class. TP