STEM combined with ARTS is creating STEAM ahead at SFX

As a part of our Inquiry unit on “Minibeasts”, the Year One/Two classes have been focusing on the external features of living things, habitats, cooperation between minibeasts, survival and life cycles. One way to get up and close to a minibeast is to view it’s features through a magnifying lens. Instead of purchasing 27 magnifying glasses that could potentially harm any minibeasts we found, the Year 1/2‘s decided to create their own magnifying lens using knowledge gained, problem solving and creativity – the building blocks for any STEAM activity.

Stage One (Technology, Science and Art):
After introducing the topic of magnification, the students chose their favourite minibeast. They used the Google Chrome app on their iPad to search for a minibeast image they could sketch. The students were careful to sketch an image that showed off the best angle of the minibeast. They also ensured that they had included all parts of the minibeast (abdomen, feelers, correct amount of legs etc) and added fine details that could be viewed more easily under a magnifying lens.

Stage Two (Technology and Science):
The students then watched a video on how water can be magnify objects if in a dome shape. They asked questions and clarified their understandings with the teacher. The class discussed the limitations and potential of making a magnifying lens using the materials we had and how we could make a lens.

Stage Three (Science and Engineering):
To begin with, the students were given all the materials required to make a magnifying lens including:

  • Glad Wrap
  • Clear plastic containers
  • Paddlepop sticks
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Water

In pairs, using problem solving and creativity, the students attempted to create a magnifying lens with the knowledge they had gained and the materials available. Some experimented with rectangular prism containers and others with cylinder containers to see if the shape the water held made a difference.

They soon worked out that Glad Wrap couldn’t hold the weight of the water and a rubber band needed to be utilised in order to keep the water in place and not fall into the container.

In the end, the students worked together to create a magnifying lens using the above materials, problem solved for any obstacles they came across, adapted their design, created a lens and tested their design.  After creating their magnifying lens, we discussed the different ways students created their lens, the challenges they faced, how they overcame these challenges and the learning they took from this session.