We strive to develop and design our activities to go along with the National Curriculum. We have a number of links, which make our workshops a great supplement to your school needs.
Key Stage 1
Across Key Stage 1 students should be taught how to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products and evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria. The equipment we use consists of variety of elements in different shapes and different functionality. It helps children to creatively select the ones most relevant to the purpose they need to use these elements for. Apart from that students are stimulated to use their imagination to design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria. During activities students usually work in small teams, what helps them to generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas and to discuss how the structures and mechanisms they create can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable. We also encourage them to explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.
Our workshops also have a range of links to the computing curriculum. Students should be taught how to create and debug simple programs and to use logical reasoning to predict their behaviour. We also help them to understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions. Through our workshops children learn about common uses of information technology beyond school.
Key Stage 2
We implement scientific reasoning and describe basic scientific phenomena during our workshops. Students can compare how things move on different surfaces, identify the effects of air resistance and friction that act between moving surfaces. As constructions become more complex students can recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect. Using inputs (sensors) children learn about planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary. Students are taught to apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures, to evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work. We encourage them to improve their constructions and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages]. We introduce children with programming environment which allows them to design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems, use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs, work with variables and various forms of input and output. We help them to use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work, to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs and to solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts. Due to combining both constructing and programming students apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.
Key Stage 3
We continuously develop the complexity of constructions, which students create to stimulate them to pay attention to objectivity and concern for accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility of their designs’ features. According to the Science Curriculum we make sure they understand and use SI units and that simple machines give bigger force but at the expense of smaller movement (and vice versa). Children are taught about forces associated with deforming objects, stretching and squashing – springs, with rubbing and friction between surfaces, with pushing things out of the way and about resistance to motion of air. We explain that forces are needed to cause objects to stop or start moving, or to change their speed or direction of motion and are arising from the interaction between two objects (as pushes or pulls). We also discuss other processes that involve energy transfer, including changing motion, dropping an object, completing an electrical circuit or stretching a spring. Students are introduced with sound sensors what gives an opportunity to mention about frequencies of sound waves, measured in hertz (Hz), echoes, reflection and absorption of sound and auditory range of humans and animals. During workshops we teach how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force and advanced electrical and electronic systems can be powered and used in their products (for example, circuits with heat, light, sound and movement as inputs and outputs). We stimulate them to apply computing and use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs (sensors), and control outputs (motors), using programmable components (microcontrollers). As programs become more complex, students are introduced with variety of computational problems, design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions, understand simple Boolean logic (for example, AND, OR and NOT) and some of its uses in programming. They compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem.
Key Stage 4
As students focus more on particular subjects we help them to develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology and apply their analytic, problem solving, design, and computational thinking skills.