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Teaching STEM through moving toys

AutoSTEM

The Erasmus EU funded large-scale innovation project has used automata (moving toys) to teach young learners STEM subjects. The children make simple moving toys that include topics from Maths, Biology, Engineering, Physics, At the end of the process the children have gained knowledge in a fun and motivating way, and have toys they have made to take home. The project has partners from 5 countries.
In play, a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour and play always leads to a more advanced level of development.

Lev Vygotsky, psychologist

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Joel Josephson on September 17th, 2021
Key figures

Innovation Overview

TEACHERS
Target Group
1 100
Children/Users
5
Countries
2019
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
31
Views
Updated on November 22nd, 2021
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about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

It has been shown that how the initial introductions to STEM subjects are made has a significant influence on a child's later engagement and interest in maths and the sciences. Appropriate STEM experiences in early childhood can be starting points for supporting children’s continued successes in STEM. STEM competencies are of growing importance and yet there is a lack of motivating materials.

How does your innovation work in practice?

AutoSTEM, uses a relational play-based pedagogy and a dynamic learning concept that is child-centred but not entirely child-directed. Teachers introduce AutoSTEM automata to the children who then make the moving toy. While they make the toy, the teacher introduces STEM areas. Once the child has made their toy, they can play with it. The project then enters a reflective stage where different concepts that the toy has initiated can be explored further. Everything including teacher step by step guides, videos and background is available on the website.

AutoSTEM has completed 42 workshops with children, and 21 workshops with teachers with a total of 1,139 participants across Europe, and the Internet. After the workshops questionnaires permitting analysis are completed. These and observations and analysis have been used to produce a number of peer reviewed academic papers in important journals. Additional papers and conferences have been completed.

Website at: https://www.autostem.info/

How has it been spreading?

AutoSTEM has completed a large website with all the resources and background that teachers need to implement the project. Over 40 videos ( 76,860 views to date) are available that show how to make the automata and use them. Every automata has it's own teacher guide and some have printable templates. There is a full online course to allow self-access.

AutoSTEM has completed 5 webinars, 4 online workshops, 17 academic papers, 9 academic conferences and has future conferences and papers.

The project has a Facebook page and uses 7 YouTube channels.

11 large scale social media campaigns have taken place.

Our work is also available on The EU Scientix portal that reaches teachers across Europe and the world. AutoSTEM is even mentioned on Wikipedia

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Everything an educator or child carer needs is available on the project website. They can start at the online course, that is divided in to 5 modules, at any point, to build a better understanding, or they can go straight to the AutoSTEM automata at https://www.autostem.info/construction-instruction-pedagogical-guidelines/ There is no charge and most of the resources are available in 5 languages.

Media

See this innovation in action

AutoSTEM teaching Maths using automata to 4/5 yrs
AutoSTEM teaching Maths using automata to 4/5 yrs The Jelly Bird workshop Automata are fascinating mechanical toys for children, small Kinetic Art sculptures. The EU AutoSTEM project uses a multidisciplinary approaches which will introduce STEM concepts and competences in different subject areas at the same time, including, measurement, transfer of power, mechanics, numbers, creativity and comprehension. Children create their own automata either autonomously, or with the help of their teachers, depending on their age. AutoSTEM has produced teaching resources (guides and pedagogic) and templates so that teachers across Europe are able to use the project in their schools Website: https://www.autostem.info Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AutomataforStem
Automata for STEM examples of working automata
Automata are fascinating mechanical toys for children, small Kinetic Art sculptures. The EU AutoSTEM project uses a multidisciplinary approaches which will introduce STEM concepts and competences in different subject areas at the same time, including, measurement, transfer of power, mechanics, numbers, creativity and comprehension. Children create their own automata either autonomously, or with the help of their teachers, depending on their age. AutoSTEM has produced teaching resources (guides and pedagogic) and templates so that teachers are able to use the project in their schools Website: https://www.autostem.infoFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/AutomataforStem

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

September 2021
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
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