• May 21, 2019 | Candice Ellis


The Grade 7 girls have had an exciting journey in STEM to date this year.

The girls started by exploring various opportunities that could be experienced in these lessons with the dissection of a kidney. They voiced their areas of interest within the STEM fields to ensure that there was ‘buy in’ and relevant learning took place in future lessons. With this ‘lift off’ the super exciting 2019 STEM journey began.

The first project used the abundance of bacteria in our world to discover the steps of the Scientific Method. The question was posed ‘Do detergents actually remove bacteria?’ The girls then selected an area, and a detergent, in which they were particularly interested.

During the assignment, the girls designed and presented their own STEM lessons, based on a certain allocated step in the Scientific Method. These lessons included iMovies, creative games to learn definitions, Keynote presentations and many more.

Finally, it was time to test for bacteria. The girls received a petri-dish with agar jelly and a swab and set off to their chosen testing areas around Johannesburg. The ‘plates’ were brought back to school and the growth of bacteria was photographed each day, for five days. Microscope skills were part of the learning process, as the girls studied the structure, colour and type of bacteria, which had grown.

Conclusions were formed, for instance, whether cleaning something e.g. a trolley handle, using the free wipes provided by the store, was a worthwhile act. These proved to be very interesting and I believe that we have all gained respect for the body’s extremely efficient immune system!

As the term drew to a close, the theoretical areas of STEM - including Acids, Bases and Neutrals as well as The Periodic Table of Elements, were covered.

The climax of the term was a presentation on Antarctica by Claudia Holgate, a climate meteorologist. She presented a documentary on the animals, plants and even career opportunities in this hostile environment. Claudia explained the methodology used by researchers in determining date layers of rock. She really brought this cold continent to life and opened our minds to a part of our planet we know little about.

Overall, STEM led the Grade 7 girls on a voyage of discovery, experimentation and, above all, education through interest and curiosity.