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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Explorer Juniors - Shark VS Train workshop


I am a mother of two lovely boys ; the older one is obsessed with trains since he was a baby , and the other one is fascinated about the ocean every since he watched the movie "Finding Nemo." This workshop "Shark VS Train " seems to be literally made for them. The school holiday had just begun not long ago and I thought I should use this opportunity for them to spend some meaningful time at holiday workshops and this just came at the right time. Once the boys knew that the workshop is called" SHARK VS TRAIN ", both of them began debating excitedly who is more powerful than the other . It was rather interesting to listen to my preschoolers' not-so-logical analysis as they argue friendly about it.


This workshop is inspired by a storybook called "Shark VS Train" , by the author Chris Barton. The children will get to explore two different themes for this workshop. The first one is about "sharks", where they learn about their habitat and their characteristics before their hands-on activities that revolved around the sharks topic. The second theme is the "train",and the children learn by going through a series of tech-based activities and hands-on experiments. From there, they get to discover more about this transportation invention and learn the science concepts behind it.   

Here are some of the photo-sneaks taken during the 3 days workshop of "Shark VS Train"

Each child was given a shark figurine so they can visualize better when the instructor describes the characteristic of every parts of the shark's body. 


The children were engaged in a hands-on experiment to understand how sharks are able to stay afloat due to their oil-filled liver. All of them were eager to gathered around the pail to watch what happens when oil is mixed with water . This allows them to learn about density by determining the objects that can float or sink in water.


Next they moved on to a brief technology lesson of Code-a-Shark using Scratch Junior application. The children are paired up together and taught to design and build a maze using simple coding. Rboy used to attend Robotics and Coding enrichment classes, therefore he is very familiar with this coding part and wants to lead his partner. I've to remind him to give his younger brother a chance to play too.

The children also touched upon science and geography by creating these sharks' fossils that they can bring back home.

On and off, they were given simple worksheets to enforced what they learned during the lesson. This time , they are required to design their own shark cage. I didn't expect the boys to get any creative because in my simple mind , I myself visualized the shark's cage to be just a cage that's big enough to lock a shark in. However Rboy drew a cage that has a claw on top (same like the one from the toy machines in the arcade) to grab the shark , spikey wheels at the bottom and some other weaponry to ensure the sharks don't escape. 

When I saw BabyK drawing many vertical and horizontal lines on his page, I thought probably my this 3 years old doesn't understand what he was supposed to do. When I asked him what he is drawing, he explained that his shark's cage is a sticky spider web that is spread across the ocean to trap the shark. I was equally surprised by his answer. This shows that a child can actually think out of the box so much easier than an adult. 


The second segment of the workshop is about "Train". 

The children were exposed to the architecture of a train, to understand the logic and science behind the construction of railway tracks. 

A group project was assigned to them to build up a town from scratch, using the wooden blocks of train tracks and houses.This was an excellent time to cultivate their teamwork spirit as they learn to interact well and respect each other opinions and ideas 

Another one of their favorite activity is making a train model out of recycled items. 

BabyK has difficulty doing certain part of the construction , like inserting the rods and fixing the wheels onto the train. The patient instructors try to encourage him and guide him to do so by himself.

I was touched to see the determination of my 3 years old as he continued to try even after many failed attempts. Yes, never once did he give up or lost interest in his mini project.

So as part of the train construction, they were supposed to attach a balloon to it and when it is inflated and released, the train will move forward.

The older kids managed to succeed and started racing once another with their trains. 

It was pretty amusing to see my boys keep trying and trying...

They were eager for their trains to join the race too.

Next, the instructor did a demonstration that shows the magnetism power of a magnet and how they attract and repel. Because of their gasps and ooh and wows,  it was as though the kids were watching a magic show!

They then moved on to the MagLev train activity where they were shown how it can be moved through the coils of wires with the use of magnets.

After the fascinating demonstration, the children cant wait to lay their hands on it.



This workshop by Explorer Junior is designed to be structural , educational and sparks creativity to preschoolers age 3-6 years old.  It focuses on real world science and engineering practices that work to reinforce science concepts and methodologies. 

If you are keen to check out other interesting workshops by Explorer Junior, do click their website below to learn more. They have many children holiday workshops all line up for this December month! 










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