Module 4: Nurturing STEM Skills in Primary Education

Home Forums STEM Starters July 1-2 Module 4: Nurturing STEM Skills in Primary Education

Viewing 11 reply threads
  • Author
    • #209705
      Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
      Course Facilitator

        *Please Note:  Participants who use Word (Or equivalent) to write their assignments and then copy and paste these into the forum may find that additional extraneous formatting is brought across. To avoid this, either right click in the post window and choose ‘Paste as Plain Text’ or use the keyboard shortcut cmd+shift+v. Alternatively, you can first paste the content into Notepad (Or similar text editor) and then copy it from here to the topic window.


        • Create one lesson plan that incorporates STEM skills and is appropriate for a class of your choice from junior infants to 2nd class.
        • The lesson plan should provide opportunities for students to develop their STEM skills and engage in hands-on learning experiences.
        • Share a link to the plan and a short (100 words minimum) descriptor here as a Reply to this post.
      • #210719
        yvonne Boylan


          In this lesson, students enhanced their STEM skills through a hands-on activity based on the story “The Three Little Pigs.” By constructing houses using marshmallows and cocktail sticks, the students aimed to create structures that could withstand the “Big Bad Wolf’s” huff and puff, simulated by a paper fan and a hairdryer. The lesson begins with a reading of the story to engage the students and set the context. This nicely integrates a well known story that the children are already familiar with and could be further extended with other lessons based on well known stories. Students will discuss 3D shapes using mathematical language, stability, and security, making predictions on what kinds of shapes and designs will work best which will then guide their construction process. They work in mixed-ability pairs, allowing for collaborative learning and idea sharing. Informal tests using paper fans can be conducted to encourage real-time adjustments and problem-solving. It also introduces the scientific skill of experimentation and trial and error in design. In the conclusion, the houses will be tested with a fan and hairdryer to observe their durability. Reflective questions will prompt discussions on why certain houses stood longer, why others collapsed, and what improvements could be made, including considering better building materials. This lesson was designed to promote collaborative learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, making the activity both educational and engaging. The lesson could be easily extended and could link well with more similar lessons whereby the students use problem solving and a variety of other skills in order to solve a problem. The test at the end is also a way to discuss how to conduct a fair test, by ensuring that each house is tested in the same way each time. This could be demonstrated by asking the children beforehand how the test should be conducted, that is how to ensure it is fair. This will involve questioning regarding the distance and the device used each time. The results will also be recorded and analysed afterwards, which will integrate well with data in Maths.


        • #211265
          Suzanne Behan

            DreamSpace Lesson Plan_Suzanne Behan_239869.docx – Microsoft Word Online (

          • #211284
            Suzanne Behan

              We have been asked to design a lesson plan that incorporates STEM skills. I have designed a

              mathematics lesson plan for the algebra strand for senior infants which involves the important skill of sequencing. In order to teach children the importance of algorithms, it was decided to use the Julia Donaldson story ‘What the Ladybird heard’ as a stimulus. The children will watch this story and the teacher will then use questioning to elicit previous knowledge. The aim of the lesson plan is for children to be enabled to explore, extend and create patterns and sequences based on the picture book story ‘What the Ladybird Heard’. With the use of Sphero Indi they will design and make a map of the story.  The children will respond to the maps created in the class by talking about their work, as well as the work of the other children. The child should be enabled to discuss the idea of sequencing in relation to a story and collaborate with their group to create a map based on the story ‘What the Ladybird heard’, putting it in the correct sequence, using Sphero Indi.  The child should be enabled to look at and describe the map that they created using Sphero Indi.

              In order to develop the STEM skill’s the teaching methodologies utilised will enable the children to:

              Talk and Discuss: Discuss idea of sequencing, what happens if things are not in the correct order and how this is linked to coding

              ICT: Show Video of the story, use Sphero Indi to create a map and record the work through an e-portfolio on a chromebook

              Pair Work/Group work: Working collaboratively to plan and design their map

              Inquiry based learning/Problem solving: Figuring out how to use Sphero Indi to design their map

              Evaluation: Looking at and talking about his/her work and the work of other children and reflect on their work.


              In groups the children must discuss the importance of sequencing and how it relates to this story. The teacher will ask the children for some real-life examples, whilst adding some humorous ones herself.  The teacher will introduce math’s language based on this story. Once all the maps have been completed pupils will reflect on their own work – identifying what worked well and anything that could be improved.

              They will each get a chance to look at the maps the other groups did and see if Sphero Indi worked.

              The teacher will conclude with the following discussion: What do you bring to this task? Was it difficult to do?Did the use of Sphero Indi make the task more interesting?What did you learn about sequencing during the course of this task? Do you feel that the use of technology enhances your understanding of how to sequence?

              After the discussion, the children will then fill out their self-assessment rubric and load a video of Indi completing the designed map and this will be added to the children’s e-portfolio. This lesson plan will help children with the STEM skills of problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, team work, curiosity, computer literacy and mathematical logic.


            • #211553
              Fiona Nally



                This is a lesson plan for a second class on constructing a new tower for Rapunzel and her Prince to live in. It has to be build from a limited amount of materials provided (card, elastic bands, straws). It is a group work activity with roles assigned.  They are challenged with building it high enough to see the surrounding kingdom but strong enough to withstand passing giants stomping by or big bad wolves having a go at blowing it down. They will have a limited time to plan and another amount of time to work collaboratively on the construction and to test the stability and this task will include peer assessment.

              • #211568
                Suzanne Behan


                  apologies, first link did not work, kind regards,  Suzanne Behan


                • #211573
                  Suzanne Behan
                  • #212150
                    Áine Madden


                      This lesson for junior infants is based on the story of the Billy Goats Gruff. The children have to create  a raft so the goats have an alternative way to cross the river. Prior to this lesson the children would’ve completed an investigation of materials that float and sink. This would help them select materials for their build. Throughout this lesson children will have to plan, design, communicate, and reflect on their raft. This lesson provides an engaging context for children to engage in a hands on activity.

                    • #213522
                      Barra Cronin



                        This lesson plan for 2nd Class introduces students to basic engineering principles through a hands-on activity where they design and build a simple bridge. By working in groups, students enhance their STEM skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. The lesson begins with a discussion on bridges, followed by a planning phase where students draw their designs. In the building phase, students use materials like lollipop sticks and glue to construct their bridges, which are then tested for strength and stability. The lesson concludes with a reflection session, allowing students to share their experiences and insights.

                      • #215758
                        Lisa Margey

                          The story of Three Little Pigs.In this STEAM lesson, students will work in three teams to build houses that will (hopefully) withstand the huff and the puff of the big bad wolf. This lesson will take approximately one 45-60 minute class period to complete.

                          Materials Needed

                          1 copy of The Three Little Pigs
                          50 popsicle sticks for Team 1
                          50 small (hot drink) straws for Team 2
                          50 index cards for Team 3
                          1 thick piece of cardboard to serve as the foundation for each team’s house
                          1 poster board roof for each team
                          One roll of masking tape for each team
                          Small desk fan to serve as the big, bad wolf (preferably decorated appropriately).
                          paper and pencils

                          Read The Three Little Pigs out loud to your class.
                          After reading, ask students what they think is needed to build a strong house. Consider linking this to different weather conditions–what would you need if you live in a windy climate? A hot climate? A snowy and cold climate?
                          Divide your class into three groups and Introduce the Three Little Pigs Design Challenge: Can your team design and build a house that the big, bad wolf can’t blow down? Requirements:
                          Your house must be built on the provided foundation (must be at the bottom of the house) and using the roof (must be at the top of the house) provided.
                          You can only use the materials provided to your team.
                          Everyone must work together and all ideas need to be considered.
                          You only have 20 minutes to build your house and have it tested.
                          Show students the “Big, Bad Wolf” so they know the force of the wind (huffing and puffing). Note: You can extend this challenge by using a fan with different levels (high, medium, low) and students that pass the “low” fan can move to medium and then high, etc. You can also move the fan to pre-determined locations measuring from further to closer to the house.
                          Hand out each team’s assigned material to use. (Note: If you have larger classes, you can divide the students into more than three groups and add additional building materials such as different straw sizes, different popsicle stick sizes, and different paper stock weight sizes. But every team needs to use the same foundation and the same room.)
                          Encourage students to draw or sketch their ideas before building.
                          After 20 minutes, students must bring their house to the “testing zone.” Note: their house can face any direction, but the wind must always come from the same place. If the house is still standing after 20 seconds, success!

                          Give students time to discuss  their answers individually and then discuss as a class:

                          What material worked the best?
                          Why do you think some materials were more effective than others?
                          Was your house able to withstand the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf?
                          How could you improve your design?
                          Extension: What are all of the different jobs that are needed in order to build a house (make a list on the whiteboard)? How many of these jobs require an understanding of science, technology, engineering, and/or math (place a star next to these jobs)?
                          After discussing the strongest materials and discussing about the most stable shapes = have students retest but this time using all the same materials to ensure fair testing – to make the most stable house- using another fan.

                          • #215786
                            Michael Coughlan
                            TeachNet Moderator

                              Adding an extension activity about the different jobs in house building and their relation to STEM subjects is a fantastic way to show real-world applications. Retesting with the same materials to achieve the most stable house ensures that students can apply what they’ve learned in a fair test environment. We created a structure using mechanical Lego to resemble a house. Groups were given different elements to complete, for example the roof, garden area, first floor, second floor etc. The inclusivity of the project is what made it all so worthwhile!

                          • #215940
                            Grace Coombes


                              I have planned a lesson for Senior Infants based on mapping the locality in Geography. By incorporating Beebots into this lesson, children will develop important spatial awareness and problem-solving skills while working collaboratively in a fun, engaging way.

                              Future extension activities could include:

                              1. Creating a map of the school or classroom.
                              2. Children design their own obstacle courses and program their Beebots to navigate them.
                              3. Incorporate different types of obstacles, such as tunnels or ramps, to challenge students’ programming skills.


                            • #215938
                              Grace Coombes


                                I have planned a lesson for Senior Infants based on mapping the locality in Geography. By incorporating Beebots into this lesson, children will develop important spatial awareness and problem-solving skills while working collaboratively in a fun, engaging way.

                                Future extension activities could include:

                                1. Creating a map of the school or classroom.
                                2. Children design their own obstacle courses and program their Beebots to navigate them.
                                3. Incorporate different types of obstacles, such as tunnels or ramps, to challenge students’ programming skills.


                            Viewing 11 reply threads
                            • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
                            Scroll to Top