Tuesday 31 July 2018

5 Minute STEM Activity 3 - The 5cm World Challenge

Some activities make a great challenge, either for yourself or against other people. Today's activity is an outdoor one that is perfect for a quick competition and makes you look at the world in a different way to normal. What is everything made from? Is concrete just concrete? Is grass just grass? Where do the living creatures hide in your garden? You can get better at noticing your world, the more you pay attention...

The 5cm World: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
Get up close and personal with the ground beneath your feet.

EQUIPMENT (for each person if you aren't challenging yourself).
Outdoor space
2 sheets of paper or card (we used 1 of each).
Something to write with

The aim of the challenge is to find the biggest number of different animals, vegetables and minerals (creatures, plants and stones) Only 1 of each counts. No cheating by choosing an ants nest. 

1. Everyone taking part needs a hole - you can make a hole by cutting a shape out of card or paper.

2. No prizes for neatness, a 5cm square hole works very well. If you don't have anything to measure with, you can have a circular hole by drawing around a mug or beaker, as long as everyone has the same shape and size of hole.

2. For Part 1 everyone taking part starts on a patch of similar looking ground outside. All on the grass or all on the path or wherever, as long as it is very similar. We chose concrete.

3. Place the paper or card with the hole on your patch of ground.

3. Use the second piece of paper or card to note your answers and scores on. You might want to rest it on something hard.

4. You have 2 minutes to note down everything you can see inside the hole. You don't need to know names, and you can draw or add up the score instead of writing words if you are younger.

Score 1 point for every variety of creature, rock, plant or other item you can see. 

Different looking plants, creatures and rocks count, as long as everyone playing agrees that they are different, or you have a grown up scientist with you who can say for definite.

5. For Part 2, everyone now chooses their own 5cm square patch of ground - turn your answer paper over and start the timer for another 2 minutes. When the time is up, add up your scores as before.

Add the two totals together to see who has won. If you have a tie break, see who improved their score the most in part 2 and they are the winner. Our winner had a very impressive 11 - including an ant in each part.

Our accepted answers were: 
Animals; Ants
Vegetables: Grass, Catkin, Seed Pod, Leaves, Dandelion Seed, Wood
Minerals: Stones, Concrete, Little Pebble
Not sure: Soil, Water Balloon, Dirt

What did you score the first time and did you improve when you could choose where to go?
Where do you think you could get a really great score?
Can you beat your own score next time? Can you beat our score of 11?
Did you have any answers that you weren't sure about, and if so, can you find out or work out which category they belong in?

This activity makes you think about the world on a different scale. Humans are tiny compared to the size of the Earth, but giants compared to most of what we walk on.

If the tiny creatures you find fascinate you, then you might also be interested in our 9 year old's ant colony. We've got 10 now, but luckily they are cheap to feed...

You can find the first 5 Minute STEM Activity here - Fish In The Tank.
And the second here - The Floating Arm Trick.

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