At first, the children needed to prove that they could work as a team. They had to drag their friends across the field on two 'woodcamp taxis'. These vehicles are not powered by petrol but by teamwork. Some of the teachers were lucky enough to take a ride!
Once the children were given their design brief, to build a 4m high structure, they listened carefully to Mr Oakey as he demonstrated how to join and form an equilateral triangle from three canes. The children added three more canes to the triangle to form a triangular based pyramid (the children also used the vocabulary- tetrahedron). They made sixteen of these and then had to do a little problem solving. Mr Oakey explained that four small tetrahedrons can be arrange to make one large triangular based pyramid. He didn't help the children at this point- they were learning from their mistakes and from each other. Once one group found the correct way the rest of the class learnt from their success.
The children then realised that these larger pyramids could be arranged to make one colossal one! The children were very excited by this. Mr Oakey disappeared for a moment and returned carrying huge canes (twice as big) and explained to the children they had made small prototypes and that the huge structure would need large canes. The children spent the next thirty minutes working as a team and with minutes to spare they made it!
Mr Oakey thought the children were fantastic and believed he saw many future engineers in the classes. He was also amazed at how fantastic the teachers of St Mark's were, throwing themselves into the children's learning and encouraging the children to push themselves and use the new vocabulary. It seemed everyone achieved a great deal today.
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