A house made from sweets is an inviting, hands-on, irresistible learning experience for children (both EYFS and KS1), and a great STEM activity for starting to think about scientific investigation skills, planning, working as a team and engaging in an iterative process of designing and making..
The children need to think about how to make their structure stable enough to not collapse, considering the shape of the sweets and biscuits as well as which material to use to stick their structure together, children can draw on their existing knowledge as they plan, thinking about strong shapes and sturdy materials. Setting some goals or aims at the start of the activity helps make it more purposeful. Examples for this activity could be for pupils to build a house, which will support a roof, or a house which will allow a small figure to stand upright.
This STEM activity also offers scope for children to practice communicating their ideas through talking, drawing or even presenting to the rest of the class as well as providing feedback to each other.
- A variety of sweets
- Sticky materials to test jam/icing sugar/melted marshmallows etc
- Children should work either alone or in teams to design their sweetie house thinking about the goal they have been given and the materials available, thinking about the number of sweets, biscuits and sticky substance they will need to create their design.
- Children then build the house using the materials available to them.
- Once the house is built children should evaluate the finished product, compare with their initial design and look for areas of improvement. For example could the house look neater?
- Design an experiment to test the strength of each house, thinking about how to make it a fair test. For example, a marble could be rolled hard into a wall of the house to see if the wall can withstand the force of the marble or heavy objects placed on top. Children should think about only changing one variable for example the type of house wall and keeping everything else (size of marble, force applied to the marble ) constant.
- Another idea would be to build a second identical house using a different sticky substance (different thicknesses of icing sugar, jam etc ) and children test both houses to see which is the strongest. Again children would need to consider how to make it a fair test, for example using the same amount of icing sugar and jam and performing the same strength test on each.
Key Stage 1 – Design and Technology
Key stage 1 – Science – Working Scientifically
ELFS – ELG 16 – Exploring and using Media and Materials
This post was written by Emma of Science Sparks
Emma is a busy Mum to three who is passionate about science education. You can find Emma’s experiments and activities over at Science Sparks which is full of fun, creative and engaging science based activities for children of all ages, perfect for home or school. Find out more at Science Sparks www.science-sparks.com
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