Lesson Ideas and Activities
Inspire The Marvel Of Engineering Through Play
The world is changing at an exponential rate. Growth in technology requires a significant need for children to be taught who engineers are and what they do. After all, buildings, transport vehicles, cherished tech screens and the ‘constructed’ world we live in was designed and created by engineers.
Engineers are problem-solvers: they use critical and creative thinking and work collaboratively to come up with solutions to problems.
They persist through set backs to move forward with new design ideas, often using trial and error to find answers.
There are several types of engineers, yet fundamentally, they all resolve issues using a range of resources and design to create and construct things that work.
The playground is a marvellous place to inspire children to participate in activities that foster inquisitiveness through play.
It provides direct experiences with engineering and technology. By raising awareness of engineering concepts at an early age, children can therefore likely consider it as a future profession.
To further prompt children and grab their attention, Pentagon can provide amazing equipment that has been carefully designed, to inspire children to live the life of an engineer.
They encourage children to ‘take the reins’, think outside the box, question why and work together to come up with solutions to ‘complex’ problems.
1. The Rope and Pulley Materials Mover
Pentagon Play's Rope and Pulley Materials Mover is an open-ended, simple, fun and practical design, which allows children to load up and transfer heavy material, safely from one area to another.
The simple and age appropriate design demonstrates the key principle of this moveable pulley system: it redirects force, allowing weightier objects to be transported effortlessly.
Our Rope and Pulley Materials Mover system encourages a higher level of thinking: why does the pulley make lifting and transporting easier? It involves teamwork, one child to pull the rope and the other to get the load.
2. Gravity Table
Gravity is a force that attracts two objects to each other and is what keeps us on earth. Our incredibly cool Gravity Table is an entertaining way for children to explore the fascinating subject of gravity.
A great way of encouraging children to make comparisons, evoke critical-thinking and stimulate conversation amongst peers, is to use an apple and a couple of grapes (attached), ask the children drop them both at the same time from the same height, irrespective of the difference in weight they will land at the same time.
This is because gravity acts as a magnet to pull the objects down to earth.
Another great experiment children can do is to use a large ball and a small ball and roll them down the gravity table at the same time to see which ball will roll the fastest and furthest. They can repeat the experiment with different weights of balls and sizes.
Over time, children will discover the heavier and larger balls have a significant advantage over small and lighter balls as size and density have an impact on momentum.
When seeing gravity in action children can think about design and how it can impact speed.
For instance, car fans can make comparison between the size and design of cars on the gravity table to see how they can impact speed. It can lead to group discussions inside and outside the classroom, ‘which design of car would be the fastest?’
3. Water Wall and Damming Play Environment
The mesmerising Water Wall delivers a seamless combination of collaborative play, innovation and learning through exploration. Children can change the direction of the water channels and alter the design to see how it impacts the flow of the water.
Tiny engineers can design, dig and scoop dams using unalike materials such as sand, mud and pebbles, using a series of trial and error to create the most effective dam that holds water for the longest and break the movement of water.
Have you ever observed a young child spending endless hours constructing things out of blocks and Lego? Each time, repeating the process until they discover a better way of creating their desired tower or bridge?
Children are natural engineers and given the correct environment, they can boost their problem-solving skills, discover trial and error and have opportunities for them to think outside of the box, to find effective solutions and most importantly, question ‘why’.
A carefully considered playground can offer substantial opportunities for open-ended, explorative play. It can be a place of inspiration and may one day create our miniature, future Dysons!
If you would like to find out how we can help you to improve your school or nursery playground to support STEAM learning, please do not hesitate to Contact Us and arrange a free consultation with one of our experts.