The third graders spent a STEM lab last week planning to build a flag pole. Their flag pole was to be built using only newspaper, string, tape, and scissors. It should be able to fly a 4″ x 6″ flag at both full and half mast. The flag would need to be raised a lowered to meet this goal. It was also to be able to remain free standing in the wind. We tested this by using a fan. The students soon realized their original plans needed to be revised as they constructed them this week. Many changed their designs to include a base for their flag pole. All our flag poles passed the wind test, but some groups were unsuccessful with raising and lowering their flags.
The first graders recently learned about solutions and mixtures in Science. So, in STEM lab we made bubble solution. The students created 2 different bubble solutions using dish soap and water. They also used various materials from the Makerspace to build their own bubble wands.
Kindergarten has spent the last several STEM Labs building a castle out of 3D shapes. They used items from their homes that were shaped like rectangular prisms, cones, spheres, and cylinders to build it. They are now decorating the castle by gluing grey “bricks” to represent a chosen pattern. They showed great teamwork and cooperation as they worked to complete this task.
The seventh and eighth graders spent some time in STEM lab trying to use static electricity to race an aluminum can 10 feet. In order to create the charge the students rubbed a balloon in their hair. The winning can took seven seconds to make it this distance!
The first graders read a short story about how Bobby Bunny had lost his Easter basket. We then discussed what the students would do to solve the problem of delivering eggs without it. They concluded, since they were in STEM lab, they could help him by building a new basket. They were then given one sheet of paper and some tape with which to build it. The groups worked cooperatively within the 20 minute time frame they were given to complete the task. All the baskets were tested along the way and redesigned to fix any problems, like eggs sticking to the tape, before the time was up. At the end of the class period the students presented their completed baskets to the class. They also explained some of the problems they encountered while building the basket and how they solved it.
Grades 6, 7, and 8 were challenged with engineering the smallest basket possible that held the most eggs. After puzzling how a small basket could hold a lot of eggs, each class discussed how this was to be measured so that we could fairly decide who had completed the task best. Each class decided that we would determine the volume of each basket so that they could be compared equally.
After learning about money in math class, the second graders used this skill in STEM lab to purchase the materials they would need to complete their design challenge. The groups were given a $10 budget with which they could buy certain items from the Makerspace. The challenge was to build a tower at least 20 cm tall and had 4 legs. The towers were also to support a cup on containing 20 pennies.
The third graders have been studying economics in their Social Studies classes by working together to establish a small business. Some of the groups were assigned to participate in a pretzel business. So, we thought it would be fun to actually make the pretzels as well as practice reading fractions and some measurement skills in STEM lab.
1. Mix together the following:
1 package of dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
2. Then add 4 cups of flour, mix well
3 Now knead the mixture for 5 minutes
(you may want to flour your hands)
4. Cut into 16 pieces and shape.
5. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet.
6. Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon of water
7. Brush on pretzels and sprinkle with salt.
8. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
The 7th graders spent this week’s STEM lab sharpening their measurement skills. If they followed the directions correctly and were exact in their measurements, they would end up with 6 test tubes of colored water to form a rainbow.
After learning about Medieval Europe in Social Studies class, the seventh graders began designing and building siege weapons. Initially, the students worked on this project with their parents but completed it in small groups. The groups were able to chose a ballista, battering ram, or siege tower to construct. All the groups really practiced the design cycle, as well as the Engineering Habit of Mind, resilience, as they tested and reworked their designs to adhere to the constraints of the task.