Falling Snowflakes

Some of the fifth and sixth graders spent some time on flex day creating and testing how fast/slow paper snowflakes fell.  The fastest snowflake fell about ten feet in 1.13 seconds and the slowest snowflake fell the same distance in 2.66 seconds.  After testing, the students were encouraged to redesign their snowflakes to see if they could either speed up or slow them down.



Hats for Santa

After learning that Santa’s outfit was designed in the 17th century, the students in kindergarten decided to design a new hat for Santa.  They were each given a sheet of 12 x 18 inch construction paper to create a prototype for their hat design.  After testing the hat to make sure it could be worn, the students were then able to embellish and decorate their creations.


Quadrilateral City

Grades 2 and 3 will have their aerial maps of a town square redesign project for “Quadrilateral City” finished next week.  This is phase 1 of the multi-step PBL. Phase 2 will begin upon our return from Christmas break.  This part of the task asked the students to draw rough drafts of their map, using the requirements specified.  Since all the buildings were all to be quadrilaterals,  they first needed to learn about the types of 4 sided figures.  To make their final drafts, the students used grid paper and rulers to make sure the attributes of the quadrilaterals were correct and made any layout or scaling corrections.  Color was then added.

Kindergarten Problem Solving

Today kindergarten practiced having a growth mindset and collaboration!  They were tasked with building a Christmas tree using tetrahedrons they made from copy style paper. This did not go as planned!  The idea was to stack them in a way so that there was no need for tape.  The class decided together that this was probably because the blocks weren’t study enough and it would be OK to use tape so that they could still build a tree.  Each student took turns taping together the triangular blocks, while discussing where each should go.  They decided when to add more to the top to make it taller and when to add more to the bottom to make it sturdier. After the tree took shape, someone said it didn’t look like a tree because it wasn’t sparkly.  Many ideas were brought up to decorate the tree as the students searched the Makerspace for “sparkly” items. Glitter, ribbon, and pipe cleaners were decided upon.  Here is the result!

Project Update

Here is a peek at what each grade level has been working on.  Ask your students about these projects.

Kindergarten and Grade 1 worked on cutting out and decorating tetrahedrons.  These will be put together to collaboratively build a Christmas tree.

Grade 2 and Grade 3 continue to work on their aerial maps of Quadrilateral City.

Grade 4 began a project using Dash the robot.  The learned how to code so that he can navigate a given travel path.  Next week they will design and build a snowplow that will attach to Dash so that he is able to clear the snow (cotton balls) from the path.  These will be tested the following week.

Grade 5 is working on a design challenge about volume.  Their task is to work collaboratively to build a cereal box with the greatest volume using only one sheet of poster board.  These boxes will be decorated and show nutritional values as well.

Grade 6 continued to work on their zoetropes.  Each student designed and built their own project that animated their own drawings.

Grade 7 worked on testing and redesigning their own “Doodle Robots” after building them from kits.  Some of these will be presented at the December Parent Club meeting.

Grade 8 continues to design and build a Rube Goldberg Machine.  Theirs will recycle a water bottle.


Pilgrim Shelters

The students in first grade spent time in their classroom learning about the Pilgrims and their struggles in Plymouth their first winter there.  In STEM lab they were given the design challenge to build a shelter that could withstand the wind, rain, and snow.  The shelters were tested by using a fan (wind), watering can (rain), and a bottle of water (weight of the snow).  Three out of five of the shelters that were built passed all three tests.

Drawing Robots

Grade 7 spent a few weeks building “Doodle Robots” from kits at the end of October.  They were then tasked with building their own “Doodle Robot.”  Each student was given a battery operated toothbrush from which the motor was removed.  Some students based their design on the robots built in class, while others used unique designs.  The robots were built using materials in our Makerspace and the toothbrush motors.  The students will use STEM lab time this week to finish building, test, or redesign their robots.  We look forward to sharing the finished products with the student body and the parents who attend our next Parent Club meeting.



Lego Puzzles

This week in STEM lab grades 3, 4, and 5 worked cooperatively to design a 3D puzzle.  Groups or 3-4 students built puzzle pieces by connecting square and rectangle Lego bricks with flat bricks to make “puzzle pieces.”  These often took the shape of an “L” or a “T.”  They also made larger squares and rectangles in the same fashion.  A completed puzzle had all its pieces fit into a 10 x 10 square.  Many groups had to redesign their early attempt because of empty spaces.  When completed, some groups traded puzzles to see if they could work them.



Halloween STEM Lab

Many classes have spent some time working on Halloween themed design challenges.  Kindergarten and grade 1 spent STEM lab building the tallest mummy using only newspaper, toilet paper and tape.  Grade 2 was tasked with using 3 strips of orange paper, a half sheet of brown paper, green tissue paper, and a cardboard tube to build a 3D pumpkin.  They were required to use all of the materials given.  Grades 6 and 8 read an article about how parachutes worked and then designed one of their own to help a witch who has fallen off her broom.  Grade 4 spent time figuring out how to get a “creepy crawly” to travel up a string that was 2 meters in length without touching the “creepy crawly.”


A Visit to the Aquarium

The third, fourth, and fifth graders recently took a field trip to the Cleveland Aquarium.  Here they learned to “read a fish.”  This meant they were able to look at a fish’s tail, body shape, mouth, and coloring/patterns and determine how this helps a fish survive in its habitat.  They then practiced this skill as they toured the aquarium.  At the end of the trip, the students worked in groups to make a fish that would be able to survive in the habitat they chose.  It was wonderful to watch the students practice the design cycle outside of the classroom and STEM lab.