For 4 years old
Our objective has always been to enable kids to learn while they are ‘in the zone’ and this can only be achieved when they are thinking, creating, playing and having fun.
KinderSTEM™ works on a powerful play-based framework that combines building activities and games to reinforce a child’s understanding of concepts. The hands-on application of real-world knowledge during KinderSTEM activities aims to develop logical reasoning and problem-solving strategies in the young learner.
Every single lesson is designed to allow a child to develop in different dimensions simultaneously. He or she does not only master fine and gross motors skills and visual-perceptual abilities but also working memory and eye-hand coordination. Higher order thinking and analytical skills are also introduced – for example transforming shapes into simple but working toy models. KinderSTEM is where your child gains an early advantage in critical thinking skills!
Thinkertoyland (spool & sticks) and LEGO Education (building blocks) are used in our curriculum. Both combined have been offering more than 170 years of creative fun to children. The latest addition is Matatalab, a ‘screenless coding’ robot to enable students to be fully immersed in their STEM experiential learning.
Using both proven and advanced educational tools, the foundation of robotics is also laid during KinderSTEM. With a sound fundamental in STEM concepts, familiarity with structures and simple machines, and basic computational thinking skills acquired through manipulating coding tiles, the children gain their first exposure in managing their robots to execute tasks correctly and accurately. This prepares them for their progression to WeDo robotics, the next phase of their STEM journey. The KinderSTEM curriculum comprises of three 10-lesson terms in pace with the child's age.
1. Shaping the STEM Foundation
1 hour 15 min
This module builds the scaffold of a child’s visual-spatial abilities, pathing the way for understanding the logic of how shapes and numbers relate to one another, work together and are interdependent.
Shapes are an integral part of math. It also appears in different forms such as structures and the things we use around us. Once a child understands the characteristic of shapes and has the capability to form compound shapes, it would boost the child’s visual-spatial intelligence greatly. This includes the understanding of length (long or short), size (big or small) and angle, thus building up the foundation of their knowledge on estimation, pattern recognition and sequencing.
The importance of visual-spatial intelligence can be simply illustrated with the often-overlooked aspect of symmetry, which we have frequently observed from robotics lessons for young students. During the building of a model that needs 2 similar parts but of a different orientation, many new students, of school-going age, do not yet immediately recognize that even though the left and right parts have the same features, they have different orientation. The visual-spatial abilities can be built with hands-on physical involvement, which is the mainstay of our lessons.
Our lessons, conducted as purposeful play, also develops the students to adopt simple but fundamental engineering know-how to enhance the viability of their designs. For example, when constructing a 3D model or transforming a 2D model into 3D, the students deepen their understanding of structures by exploring the importance of achieving stability in their structures with the correct weight distribution within the frame. Further engineering know-how will be further explored as students incorporate gears and wheels and axles into their builds.
The basics of numeracy will also be taught visually with the use of the hundred number chart. Students will learn to clearly differentiate the ones and tens, even as the value increases. They will also learn number sequence, number bond, number pattern and the concepts of how to add & subtract. Additionally, the students will be exposed to simple multiplication and division concepts using groupings.
With the basics in place, the students are ready to move on to the Math Alive! module.
2: Math Alive!
1 hour 15 min
Math can be abstract; thus, we believe that understanding the concepts of math should take precedence over learning the language of math for young children. Instead of just rote learning of “+”, “-”, “x” and “÷”, this module is made up of math games to introduce numeracy and its applications in a fun way. What is more important is that the students will be able to relate numeracy to and apply it in the daily routines surrounding them.
Tangible user interfaces enhance the comprehension of concepts. Our building activities double up as math manipulatives in adding and subtraction lessons. Building cubes, stacking, and placing them while doing sums provide a vivid imagery to encapsulate these basic arithmetic concepts.
Based on the same methodology, students will progress to other arithmetic concepts such as multiplication and division through more hands-on building activities with more engineering know-how weaved in. Hint: one example is building a working elevator and using grouping to solve the challenges of the lift’s capacity and number of passengers that it can accommodate in each ride.
Indeed, such problem-based learning is another key learning methodology in this module as we introduce yet another application of math – Money. It is important in any learning to see how the practical aspect of the theory can be applied in real life. Hence, we use local currency (in coins and dollars) in several interesting scenarios for buying & selling to enable simple transactions to take place. The students will have to count lots of money!
No doubt practice makes perfect in arithmetic, but a good introduction to concepts would provide the young students with a lasting impression. And having hands-on real-life applications should give them a firm grounding in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division when they are introduced to them in school.
3 & 4: Analytical Skills thru' Coding!
1 hour 15 min
Programming is a significant part of robotics. It enables the robot to synchronize every sequence of its precise movement in a timely manner to accomplish a mission. Therefore, the programmer’s ability to analyse the required task(s) and then to plan & program the sequence of continued actions for the robot to accomplish the mission, form the basis of robotics.
This program is specially designed for the 4-year-olds to develop their understanding of common concepts and programming in robotics. The objectives are to:
establish a good spatial perception using their body-facing in relation to position (forward/ back/ right & left). This foundation builds-up their clarity in commanding the robot’s movement
establish the foundation in programming
understand the importance of sequencing
develop logical thinking to plan to accomplish the objective(s)
develop analytic thinking & critical thinking to solve challenges
Normally, the path that a robot takes on a mission is not always straight-forward. Therefore, the routes in our lessons are deliberately laid with barriers in order to develop the young students in analysing the situation and planning for the minimum steps to reach the destination (accomplish the mission). Inevitably, the students would build a good foundation of spatial ability through the fun activities.
Additionally, some common concepts & their applications would be introduced to the students such as Loop, creating Function Key and angles. These concepts would be applied while they are attempting some challenges like drawing a compound shape, for instance.
Last but not least, there are activities to sharpen the students’ programming concepts, critical-thinking, eye-hand coordination for quick reflexes and some teamwork to handle dynamic and static challenges. The students need to be focused on their programming and must be constantly aware of the robot’s changing orientation to enable the students to program their commands correctly.