Third-grade students have begun to think more critically while truly engaged in the many experimental learning activities that we have done over the last several weeks. For example, they were given a very specific supply of materials to use to see if they could plan, design and implement the construction of a catapult. The used various objects and made predictions on how far the object could be launched based on their design. Students also planned and designed a boat made of only foil. The goal was to create a boat that could hold weight in a container of water. A prediction was made and actual weight calculated. We had a students boat hold about a 1/2 pound of weight and stay afloat. They also designed a marble maze and a house of cards. While these activities seem much to fun for school, the students had to brainstorm ideas for their projects, they had to design and test it while being able to explain why it worked or why it failed.
On October 27, 2017, the students were able to explore many aspects of the pumpkin. They began by emptying out the inside of their pumpkin so they could activate their 5 senses. They made predictions regarding the number of seeds, their pumpkins height, circumference and whether or not a pumpkin would float or sink. They also studied the life cycle of the pumpkin, learned several interesting facts about the history of the pumpkin and we even roasted the seeds! While doing all the activities, they recorded all their data into their pumpkin book which is very interactive. It was a wonderful STEM experience.
When I look at my students doing all these activities I see a group of students working together to solve a problem or to create something that they can then improve on and share with others. They are engaged learners who work with such excitement. They also understand that to fail is a part of learning.