As a primary school teacher in School Elena Doamna, Tecuci – Romania I started a great interdisciplinary adventure with my 8 years-old students during this online teaching period. Would you care to join us?
The adventure started from reading together, as an online activity, the text from the book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch. We explored the text and carried out various activities. It was a good opportunity for students to communicate in their mother tongue, to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts, and verbal opinions. This, later, was also part of practicing a foreign language: writing, interpretations, translation of words and expressions. Learning that took place while creating comics about the text using online tools and/or drawings. Students reported and expressed on their drawings their point of view on each character’s emotions and I could see the students’ impressions.
This reading guided us through diversified lessons: we learned about the history of lighthouses and we studied the position of the most famous lighthouses on geographical maps, e.i.: Google Maps. We also learned about how they were built, their height, positions, and shapes. It was also an opportunity to first introduce and help students discovered what radar is, where it is used and how. After that, and together with their parents, they discovered how an electrical circuit works, what materials are needed and what is the lightning bolt, located at the top of a lighthouse.
Following up, the next activity was about what lunch Mr. Gringling had. With that in mind and the information from the text, we wanted to make his lunch as healthy as possible. Consequently, students wrote different healthy lunch recipes and preparation steps with drawings.
After taking care of Mr. Gringling’s lunch, the students found out how to see the weight of different items in their lunch. I asked them: what is the total weight of your lunch? In addition, we also choose two types of sandwiches to build a Venn diagram showing which one they like and don’t like.
It was a very pleasant experience to see the students’ mockup creation – dough made of flour, salt, and water. They built the lighthouse, the house of the lighthouse keeper, the waves and the seagulls. Using this model, the students presented their ideas about other STEM solutions they had developed so that the seagulls would not eat Mr. Gringling’s lunch. How could they do that? Using technology, changing habits, inventing new ways to pack the basket and feeding the seagulls so they are not hungry.
Thus, we acquired new skills, we practiced our creativity, organization, confidence, foreign languages, communication and desire to change. All was possible using STEM! STEM is everywhere and it means all disciplines together.
All these activities were developed together with teachers and students from other 4 countries inside Erasmus KA229 project Soft skills for a better life.
Author: Adriana Lefter, Romania Scientix Ambassador