Kindergarten participated in two Halloween themed STEM labs this month. On was to design a web for a spider using only one paper plate, yarn, and one piece of tape.
Another design challenge was to work collaboratively to build a mummy using only newspaper, toilet paper, and tape.
Grades 4, 5, and 6 worked collaboratively on a design challenge where they were built an elevator that could raise a pumpkin from the floor to the top of the table. Several groups built designs that had a car move up the elevator shaft. Another design used a drag system one student had seen on a fishing pole. Many of the fifth grade project included a crank to operate the elevator. The final products were quite impressive.
Eighth grade has been learning about acceleration in Science class. In STEM lab the students worked cooperatively to record the rates at which various “zombies” walked in across the gym. The students then made graphs of this data and discussed where they showed acceleration.
The seventh graders participated in a challenge that was a twist on building a tower. They were asked to work cooperatively in teams of 4 to build a circular shaped structure out of Pringles. This was a great way to practice the Engineering Habit of Mind, resilience. Three of the five groups successfully completed the challenge.
Can you work collaboratively to build a a catapult that will launch a candy pumpkin 100m and hit a target? This is the challenge recently presented to the 8th grade. Materials were limited to 10 craft sticks, 10 rubber bands, 1 Dixie cup, and tape. The winning group scored a total of 12 points in five launches. Here is a photo of the winning design.
After learning about latitude and longitude in Social Studies, the seventh graders created globes out of punch balloons. The models included labeled lines of latitude and longitude, the oceans, and the continents. Many students did not draw enough lines or drew too many lines. Other students realized they did not space their lines the same distance apart. After discussing discussing these flaws and the concept of scale, many students redesigned their globes and started the project again.
Kindergarten participated in their first design challenge this STEM lab! After learning the Bible story about Jonah and the Whale, the students were challenged to design a whale that could swallow Jonah. They were provided with paper plates, paper fasteners, blue paper, and paper bags to use. Some students drew whales on their paper and cut an opening for the mouth to push Jonah through. Others thought more about how to use the materials and came up with unique designs.
The fourth graders practiced resourcefulness, one of the Engineering Habits of Mind, this week in STEM lab. They worked with partners to build the tallest tower possible with only 12 index cards and 12 inches of tape. The tallest tower that was built in class was almost 32 inches tall. This height was an reached after 2 redesigns that originally reached 24 inches and 30 inches.
The second graders worked this week on a collaborative drawings of a scientist. After drawing individual pictures of what each student thought a scientist looked like, they talked in groups about their illustrations. Together, they chose the best elements from their pictures to represent a scientist and the tools he/she uses on the job and created a new picture.
Can you build a device to help balance a tennis ball on top of your head? Can you participate in an obstacle course while wearing it? This is the challenge that grades 6, 7, and 8 were presented with. After one attempt many devices proved ineffective or fell apart. The students were then given an additional 15 minutes to redesign and build new devices or repair original designs. This time constraint provided an opportunity to work cooperatively, allowing students to offer suggestions and even help build devices for their teammates. Once the fifteen minute time limit was reached, the teams went back to the gym to attempt the course again. Many of the new designs shaved a lot of time off of each teams original time.