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To ask for classroom activity advice?

(21 Posts)
actino Sat 25-Feb-17 09:00:21

Hi. I am a STEM ambassador and have agreed to put on a classroom-based activity for a class of 22 6-7 year olds to complement their Birds, Plants and Minibeasts teaching.

I am fine coming up with content, but I have no idea what kind of activity is suitable for 6-7 year olds (I have no DC, nieces/nephews, young cousins, etc... so genuinely don't know what 6-7 year olds know!). It will be 45 minutes long and the more interactive, the better.

I am meeting with the teachers next week to get feedback on my plans and they want to see a 1 page outline.

Any ideas? TIA.

JustKeepPaddling Sat 25-Feb-17 09:03:02

Is it a year 2 class? It needs to be really hands on and lots of real objects to observe/handle if possible. Pictures are always great. Things that require reading are ok but make sure they are paired by their teacher as lots could struggle.

What sort of things do you have in mind? Happy to give more detailed advice when I know what the general plan is.

tadjennyp Sat 25-Feb-17 09:05:45

How about a carousel of activities? Match up the close up photo to the photo of the whole thing? Match up realia to photos and names? Find the habitat? Those sorts of things?

TellMeItsNotTrue Sat 25-Feb-17 09:09:07

I would say lots of stations with small groups at them is better for attention as concentrating on each station for a shorter amount of time and not getting bored because a whole class is doing one activity meaning large amounts of time with each child just standing there waiting for their turn

Match up the name with the picture
Look at nests (real and pictures) and try to guess what lives in them/makes them
Maybe a table with twigs and trying to make a birds nest to show them how hard it actually is, and a fun hands on activity I can see getting them giggling

MrsDustyBusty Sat 25-Feb-17 09:09:22

Another task they love at that age is to give them a variety of materials and ask them to make/find things. So they might draw a bird, construct a mini beast out of playdoh and make a plant with lego or whatever they choose. They can then talk about what they made and why they chose that material.

LadyCallandraDaviot Sat 25-Feb-17 09:10:08

You will need differentiated activities (easier/middle/harder) because the range of abilities will be wide.
You could have some kind of sorting activity, where the children follow a decision tree to sort pictures into bird , plant, minibeast, with harder or easier questions on it.
You could give children each a sign/label and get them to walk around and find the other people in the same group (good for wriggly kids as they get movement for a purpose)
Better to have too many activities than too few, and remember an introduction and plenary (where you go over what they have learnt, and give masses of praise)

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 09:12:33

What do you want them to understand by the end of it?

You are a STEM ambassador - so you are an expert in this field (as far as the children are concerned).

Teachers can do activities as part of their normal teaching - so you (and the school) need to clarify WHAT the objective is.

Once you have the objective, then design the tasks around it.

Don't design the tasks first. Ask yourself what you want them to learn.

Boiled7Up Sat 25-Feb-17 09:43:22

Nothing is worse than a visiting specialist who can't control the group. Stations and small activities are hard to manage.

Can you sing OP? Could you do a song or dance to get movement in?

Have prizes too. Only give out prizes for good sitting and listening.

actino Sat 25-Feb-17 09:44:53

Thanks for the advice, many of those ideas are exactly what I was looking for. I really like the idea of having the kids get up and find others in the same 'group'.

We were supposed to get more information from the teachers on what exactly they were going to be learning, but I haven't heard anything yet. I was told that I can do anything related to Birds, Plants, MiniBeasts, so my ideas were to teach about habitats for minibeasts or pollination by bees or different types of bird beaks (the latter two are my mom's ideas, she teaches special needs kids of varying ages).

I'm having a meeting on Monday with the colleagues who liaise with the school/teachers and a meeting with the teachers on Wednesday, so I should get more guidance on content next week.

Thanks again smile

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 10:00:06

Only give out prizes for good sitting and listening

That should be the teacher's role. Not a visitor. Teachers don't abdicate responsibility for behaviour of their class.

Make it active, interactive and don't just talk. I've seen visitors who just talk. Get them to discuss ideas together.

When they give an answer, ask them why they think that?

Give them time to think. To discuss.

Beaks are great. I've seen workshops with different size beaks - and the children have to figure out which ones are most suited to the task.

Getting them to think and to discuss is a great way to get them to learn.

Oh - and involve quiet children. Not the ones who dominate and always have their hands up. I often listen to the conversations - children are sometimes reluctant to put their hand up.

SaucyJack Sat 25-Feb-17 10:05:10

Do something with yes/no flow charts?

Boiled7Up Sat 25-Feb-17 10:07:39

No, but if someone is nervous about taking 22 6 year olds for a workshop or first lesson, they can lack a teachers' behaviour management strategies.

I try not to interrupt visitors or undermine them by getting up and speaking to the class mid-workshop. The only times I have had to do it have been when they all got far too excited.

I normally welcome the visitor and strategically place myself near the ones who will need me.

Boiled7Up Sat 25-Feb-17 10:08:57

By 'ones' I mean children.

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 10:11:59

I try not to interrupt visitors or undermine them by getting up and speaking to the class mid-workshop

Pretty certain a visitor who is not used to talking to such a group wouldn't mind the class teacher stepping in to remind their class to behave respectively.

Boiled7Up Sat 25-Feb-17 10:17:36

The class teacher and school (who will usually pay £££ for the privilege of workshops) may mind.

My point was- the OP shouldn't rely on the class teacher managing the children. Prizes can be a good way of keeping a group of 6 years quiet.

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 11:18:48

My point was- the OP shouldn't rely on the class teacher managing the children

As someone who has been a class teacher and who still teaches as a peripatetic teacher, I would personally expect the class teacher to take responsibility for the behaviour of their class - and remind them they have a visitor in and to respect that visitor. Any child misbehaving / getting too excited should be dealt with by the class teacher.

And I don't think handing out prizes for good behaviour is needed. Points maybe?

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 11:21:59

The class teacher and school (who will usually pay £££ for the privilege of workshops) may mind

And if the school has paid £££ for a workshop, then the class teacher should definitely make sure their class listen and engage. I've done workshops where the class teacher has done nothing except sit in the back and mark. But I am an experienced teacher and am capable of managing a new class and making sure they listen.

It's not fair on the children when a stranger comes in who does not know the children and the teacher sits at the back, ignores the visitor and does their own work instead. Especially when they have paid £££ for the privilege.

TellMeItsNotTrue Sat 25-Feb-17 11:24:07

Bees would be good, since we aren't doing enough to protect them at the moment

One activity could be relay races with hive one side and flowers the other, they have to run to the flower and pick up a yellow button / circle /beanbag then take it back to the hive and the next person goes (obviously I know it's a lot more complicated than that and involves going to different flowers to pollinate them, but this would be good for that age group)

Getting them running around will make them enjoy the whole thing more, remember it and speak fondly about it, and be able to concentrate better on the rest of it if they have burnt off some energy or know they will be soon (today we are learning about bees and a bit later we will all get to be bees! First we need to find out what they do though so that we know how to play our game)

TellMeItsNotTrue Sat 25-Feb-17 11:29:22

Could maybe let them try honey too, but would have to check with the school, you could do that near the end because it's the finished product of all the bees hard work

Pictures of which plants bees like best

If you did want to do seperate activities you could have
Honey tasting
Learning about the best plants, maybe planting seeds in pots?
Putting laminated a4 pictures in the right order of what happens
Putting laminated questions in to true and false piles

amispartacus Sat 25-Feb-17 11:56:52

Bees and different flavour honey - that's a nice one.

How can they get the bee to go to a flower? What ways could a plant attract them?

Lots of drama and activity.

You could do 'mats ' - people choose a mat to sit on that represents their view.

TellMeItsNotTrue Sat 25-Feb-17 11:59:49

I don't believe this, I heard a buzzing by the window when I was writing that, first thought was "I don't believe it, is that a bee?" and then I thought "don't be silly, it will be a fly" it went quiet and I forgot about it

I had a bad night so I'm lying on the bed, 15 minutes later I heard a really loud buzz and it made me jump because it had been silent for 15 minutes and this was really loud all of a sudden. Then 1 minute later I felt something on my head and thought I was feeling things - no, when I moved my head I found a bee the size of a humbug sweet on my pillows!!!

Managed to catch it and release it outside without being stung, I had to try twice though because the first thing I got to put over it was too small! Really odd timing, really huge bee and possibly a ninja bee because I'm not sure how it got in or how it got on my pillows without making a sound

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