Quick summary: STEM learning can be undertaken using many different materials in early learning. Using LEGO or larger connecting bricks is a wonderful way to create a vibrant STEM experience. In this lesson the children use LEGO to build a balloon-powered car. They see forces in action and take part in an active building challenge. Children explore design through hands-on building and troubleshooting. An important part of STEM learning is for children to try things out to see what works. This process often leads to making adjustments or redesigns, both of which are vital critical thinking skills. This activity is a great way to focus on problem solving skills using STEM.
We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.
- Children understand force and motion
- Children develop creativity through participating in a design challenge
- Children develop problem solving skills
- Children work collaboratively
- Children persist and troubleshoot challenges.
21st century skills:
EYLF Learning Outcome
Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners
1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.
3. Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another.
4. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials.
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators
1. Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes.
Topic: STEM/STEAM, Creative Thinking
Unit of work: STEM Challenges — Early Learning
Time required: 50 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to High. The educator will need to set up the STEM challenge and assist the children in conducting the activity. The early childhood educator role shifts to being a side-by-side learner in this activity once the children begin to build and test their car.
- Balloons – one per group
- LEGO or connecting bricks
- Masking tape
- One to three arched bricks
- Tape measure
- Wheel sets – four wheels for each group.
Related Professional Development: Practical Steps For STEM Inquiry. Introduction To Early Learning STEM.
Keywords: STEM, STEAM, early learning, LEGO, connecting bricks, building, design challenge, design, balloon, wind-powered, car, wheels, force, motion, physics.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.