SEE STEAM mini hacks – research

From Agnieszka Kurzawa and Aga Gajownik

Last two months we were researching SCRUM Educational Experience for younger children Year5 and Year6 with support from Educate London.

During our SEE events we met a lot of people asking about SEE hacks for younger children (as our SEE STEAM were for students aged 12-16). We created a simplified version of the work-frame and we ran hacks in collaboration with STEM Ambassadors. We are so excited to share our research.

We started our journey at Torriano Primary School were we did Sustainable Lighting with Micro Bits, at St Mark’s Primary School: Industrial design, at Moreland Primary School: App Development and Robotics AI at Canonbury Primary School.

SCRUM Educational Experience is a combination of:

•Experiential learning – the process of learning through experience,

•Agile methodology – flexibility, collaboration and activity,

•SCRUM – we use sprints to take students through the process,

•and hackathon – we show students how to ‘hack’ the problem.

The SPRINT STRUCTURE (stayed the same as before):

1.Challenge introduction

◦Task introduced by the facilitator

◦List the deliverables


◦Task is completed

◦Typically 30 minutes at schools and longer with adults.


◦Facilitator-led feedback and discussion


The Simplified model included only 4 sprints:

1.User persona and problem description

2.Problem solution – prototyping

3.Business model and marketing

4.Presentation and Pitch

Torriano Primary School

We were researching how SEE hacks develop Life Competencies:

Social Responsibilities

•Understanding personal responsibilities as part of a group

•Assigning a role according to skills and predispositions

•Understanding and discussing the hack challenge

Collaboration – Teamwork

•”Taking personal responsibility for own contributions to a group task”

•”Listening respectfully and responding constructively to others’ contributions”

•Sharing the tasks

•Negotiating the best solution to achieve the best results as a group


•”Using appropriate language” – communicating well with others to share own ideas

•”Managing conversations” – be respectful, listen to each other and negotiate project the best options

•Presenting team project with confidence and clarity – practising public speaking skills

Emotional Development

•Identifying and understanding emotions – the whole process can be very emotional for students. Teachers and Facilitators must be aware of it and support students when needed.

•Managing own emotions – communicating well even if they disagree in a calm and respectful manner, managing stress, minimising negative emotions and enhancing positive ones

•Empathy and relationship skills – aimed towards the “User Persona”, person who has a problem, for whom they want to find a solution; and to each other in the group.

Canonbury Primary School

Our observations:

•Students work better in a mixed group,

•The best way to create a group is student interest. From our experience, the learning process and projects results are much better than in the groups where the teacher selects children or they work in their ‘usual’ groups

•Feedback from Year6 student: ” It is a lot of fun because I worked with people I would not normally work with, and quite like making staff with cardboard”

Students go trough “forming, storming, norming, and performing” process described in 1965 by  Psychologist Bruce Tuckman in his article, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. Later, he added a fifth stage, “adjourning”.

Source: Okpalad, based on Tuckman and Jensen (1977)

•The level of engagement by facilitators and teachers taking part in the SEE hack always needs to be high. Because we work with younger students, they need support with emotional difficulties especially during team brainstorming and problems with workload distribution. Some students are very focused on individual work, and they have problems with collaboration. This is the facilitator’s/teacher’s responsibility to find the way to include the child.

•Students following sprint tasks and presenting all deliverables always achieve great results and often they are winning the challenge. We are always  impressed with the level of creativity displayed.

Creative thinking

• participating in the hack as part of the creative activity

•creating a new product/project from own ideas to solve the problem

Critical thinking

•understanding links between problem and solution, analysing it, evaluating and improving ideas

•building the presentation combining ideas and information

Learning to Learn

•Practical skills: awareness of problem solving process, solution design, difference between individual and teamwork projects

•Retrospective about the process, and success celebration – presentation and pitch summarise their all hack work.

•Knowledge about tech industry, tech occupations, awareness about diversity.

•KANBAN board introduction, opportunity to use it to track progress in group and own projects

The whole research process was full of inspiration and at the moment we are working on materials for students and teachers. We believe that our model can be use for a whole week activity uncovering topics included in Curriculum. It is a big opportunity to add topics of school subjects to the hack ex. equity with percentage exploration, new “big” words and spelling, public speaking and oracy.


  1. Aga GajownikHow can Agile help us Educate?https://www.agilebusiness.org/resources/articles/how-can-agile-help-us-educate
  2. Bruce Tuckman  Forming, storming, norming and performing – developmental sequence in groups -https://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~daeme101/infed.org-Bruce_W_Tuckman__forming_storming_norming_and_performing_in_groups.pdf
  3. Team managing -https://okpalad.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/managing-diverse-teams-2/
  4. Cambridge Framework for Life Competencies http://www.englishprofile.org/cflc

  5. Kanban board -https://www.planview.com/resources/articles/what-is-kanban-board/

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