Science Fair and Phenomena-based learning at Töölö Primary School

Last week, Töölö Primary School students spent science week in various FUNtastic ways.

As a school, teachers decided to use this week as a phenomena-based learning week, with all students taking part.

In order to get the whole school involved, students and teachers were first divided by grade; 1st and 5th graders worked together (big brothers/sisters with little brothers/sisters), 2nd and 6th together (also big brothers/sisters with little brothers/sisters) , and 3rd and 4th grade students worked together. Teachers planned a science-themed week specifically for their groups.

Teachers had amazing ideas for their groups and planned an extremely successful science week.

Additionally, all students were able to participate in a field trip to our science center Heureka where students explored exhibits such as ‘Mind your Brain’ and the much anticipated Dinosaurs exhibit.

2C and 6C students were able to visit Heureka on Monday. Students were instructed to explore the science center freely with their big/little brothers/sisters but were instructed that they had to visit the ‘Mind Your Brain’ exhibit in order to participate in workshops about the brain and work on group projects on the same topic at school.

Our 2C teacher Leni, our 6C teacher Heidi, and our English teacher Anna planned workshops about the brain for 2C and 6C students.

Heidi held a mindfulness workshop that focused on the importance of taking brain breaks and taking care of our minds and finding ways to calm down, even in the middle of a school day. The students practiced mindful breathing on yoga mats as Heidi directed students to take deep breaths from their stomachs.

Heidi also taught the students how to make a calm down jar. Students filled a glass jar with water, dish soap, and glitter and then glued the cap on. When students shake their jars, there is a storm in the jar (much like our emotions and perceptions during stressful times). Eventually, the glitter settles to the bottom of the jar, just like a storm settling.    

Our 2C teacher Leni held a dance and rhythm workshop. Dance and rhythm have been proven to be great activities for brain function, so Leni took the opportunity to use her dancing talents to guide students in exercising their brains.

Students practiced repeating different rhythms with fun games and tasks such as the triangle dance, the hand give, desktop drumming and the hand clapping game Sevens. The students practiced these challenging activities with their big/little brothers/sisters.

Students practice the popular Triangle Dance challenge.
Students practice the hand clapping game Sevens.

Anna held a brain teasers and brain exercise workshop. First, the students discussed the importance of exercising our brains and ways that we can exercise our brains.

The group had a lot of fun first practicing bimanual interference which is when the brain has to simultaneously control two or more movements. The classic example of this is rubbing your stomach with one hand while patting your head with the other hand. The group tried different examples of bimanual interference with varying levels of difficulty.

The students also practiced the multicolored text exercise. Color words (for example orange, purple, green, etc.) are written in colors different than what the word is. The challenge is to say the color in which the word is written instead of the word that is written. For example, the word yellow might be written in green text. This tricky task exercises both sides of the brain, as text perception and color perception are located in different hemispheres of the brain. Using both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously helps to establish new connections which improves concentration and attention.

Students then partnered with their little/big brothers/sisters to try different stations of brain teasers and tasks set up around the classroom.

Students used the afternoon lessons of our science week in order to work with their big/little sisters/brothers to prepare a small presentation or an exercise for the class.

One group of students used familiar smells and tastes in order to create their presentation. Students instructed their peers to smell and taste different items and foods with their eyes closed and to then write down what kind of a memory they have associated with the specific scent or taste.

Students testing their memory of different smells and tastes.

Another group of students created a fun Kahoot! in order to have their peers interact in a fun test-your-brain trivia game.

Students are always excited to play Kahoot!

The Teachers and students had a variety of science -based workshops and activities for an extremely successful Science Fair week at Töölö! We all enjoyed a week of science learning and exploration in a variety of learning environments!

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