As the Year 5 finished off their unit of work on disaster recovery, the pupils were challenged to see if they could make a filter to clean water. In the previous week we had ventured outside to collect natural materials for our filters, following some research on the internet. We gathered together pebbles, stones, moss, sawdust, sand and leaves. These would all be housed, with one eye on the environment, in single use plastic bottles. The only other man-made material was a square cut from one of Mr Gregory’s old work shirts.
The pupils planned the contents of their filters, trying to define the different layers, whilst the muddy water sample was prepared. Once the pupils were happy with their filters and content that the filter would provide a cleaner sample of water, the slow pouring process began. Some water travelled its course quicker than others and some came out lighter in colour than others too; in fact, there was a correlation between how quickly the water made its way through the filter and the colour of the water coming out. The quicker it made it through the filter, the less filtered it was.
As you can see from the photographs the children worked hard, produced some good samples and a mixture of results for us to analyse. The key to STEM is the process of engineering and thinking like an engineer. Therefore, the outcome was less important than the ability to continue the engineering process and see how we would adapt our filters and make them make efficient.
Next up is a programme of study called STEM in the movies. I can’t wait to see the children being creative and collaborative to create some fun and exciting outcomes.