Spooky STEM

Halloween has definitely not been cancelled this year at Portpatrick Primary. Today, the boys and girls enjoyed an immersive STEM Day themed on all things Halloween.

Throughout the tasks the children were using and applying  Skills 4.0 as outlined by Education Scotland as promoting skills development for a thriving future for our children and young people.

Bone Bridge Building – Engineering:

The boys and girls were set the challenge of working collaboratively to design and construct a ‘bone bridge’ using cotton bud bones and a range of selected construction materials.  The design criteria was to create and build a bridge that was raised from the surface and that had a span of between 0.5 metres to 1 metre long.

The children were completely focussed on their task; discussing and sharing their ideas.  They quickly adapted and modified designs in light of practical experience to achieve their successful outcome.

Self-Inflating Ghost Heads – Chemistry:

The two classes took turns to combine substances to create a chemical reaction.  We poured 50ml of vinegar into a drink bottle.  We added a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into a balloon with a spooky face drawn on it. We then stretched the balloon neck over the neck of the bottle.  When we were ready, we all tipped the balloons upright and watched them inflate.

Maya explained that the two substances reacted together and that the chemical reaction produced carbon dioxide which inflated our balloon ghost heads.

Creature Catchers – Engineering/CDT:

The next challenge was to design a creature catcher web that would be capable of trapping creepy crawlies when lifted up after they had been placed on its surface.  The winning team would be the one that had the least amount of creatures fall through the net and escape the spider’s web.

The most problematic area was how to construct a frame with which to create the net.  Once the children overcame that, they quickly found efficient methods of weaving a network grid to capture the creepy creatures.

To test our creature catchers, we placed 20 creepy crawlies on top of each catcher and lifted it to see how many would fall through.  We had great results with only a quarter falling through on one design and zero falling through on each of the others.  We discussed why more fell through on the one catcher and determined that there were more gaps on that mesh as the weave was only in one direction.  We reviewed and reflected on how to improve the efficiency of that design.  It was a great learning activity for all.

Trick or Treat Toss – Physics:

The final challenge involved imagining a scenario where a shy ghost wanted to find a way to deliver trick or treat sweets to children without having to leave his haunted house.  The children designed and built their own catapults using fulcrums.  We then tested our treat launchers to see which design managed to send a wrapped sweet the farthest distance.  Robin and Alfie managed to toss their sweet an impressive 1.9  metres.

There is more spooky learning & fun planned for tomorrow.  Watch this space!

Effective Contributors

Successful Learners


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *