Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Planning task: Tailoring the activity

Tailoring the activity to suit different contexts is important. Watch the course educators discussing how to adapt the aeroplane activity.
but if you were gonna deliver this to a primary school audience, how would you do that? Okay, so what age, and how many pupils? If we say age ten or 11, and 30 pupils? Okay, so let’s stick with this idea of testing different model design. So what we’ll do is we’ll divide that class up into small groups. We’ll allocate a model per group and each individual pupil within the group will make that model. We’ll then go through the same process of flight and measuring distances, and then we work out average distance across the class. In that way, we can compare flights between the different model types.
So if you’re getting pupils to collect data, take measurements, then that might also be an opportunity to get them to practise things like drawing bar charts and actually presenting results as well. Absolutely. So if you wanted to plan this for secondary school, let’s say we wanted to do the activity with 14-year-olds. How would you think about going about that? So, I think you can expand on the activity that you’ve developed for primary school pupils, but maybe introduce the concept of aerodynamics. So, how do things like wingspan or weight affect flight? You could also introduce some real-life examples of real-life planes.
And maybe instead of giving the pupils designs to follow, you could ask them to come up with their own ideas and use their own designs and then test them out in the classroom. So, they can do a similar design and test flight is the word to describe it, we can actually bring in some new dimensions as well. We could actually start to measure speeds. So how to deal with that is use a stopwatch. We could actually time the flight and how long it’s flying in the air for. And that way we can calculate speeds. All you need to do is remember to add a new column to your data recording sheet.

When choosing activities, it is possible to choose something relatively simple and adapt it for different audiences. We established how important it was to tailor the activity to the group of young people you are volunteering with. For the scenario, we are wanting to deliver the paper aeroplane activity to a group of 10-11 year olds.

In this video, we discuss how the activity could be adapted for both primary (5-11 year olds) and secondary (11-16 year olds) students. Have a think about the differences we are expecting between the two groups.

Add to your plan

  1. Take a look again at your activity summary. Are your aims and learning outcomes pitched at the right level?
  2. Think about possible curriculum links. You can either use the national curriculum for your country or use the ten employability skills from the STEM Learning poster.

In the next step, we’ll ask you to share your plan and compare it to our suggestions.

This article is from the free online

Volunteering in the Classroom: Planning and Organising Practical STEM Activities

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now