The 6th graders had some fun building courses for a Hex Bug to travel through. They were given a limited supply of items, such as index cards, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, and cardboard tubes, that they were able to utilize for this challenge. The courses were to be built so that the materials were not altered in any way that made them unusable for other projects. Many students were very creative and built courses that traveled off the table.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes learned how to use science to move a tissue paper ghost. After “charging” a balloon, they used it to make a tissue paper ghost stand and move on the table. They also used the balloon to move an empty soda can across the room.
The kindergarten and first grade classes learned that the plan an engineer uses when working through the design cycle is called a blueprint. They made their own by gluing paper rectangles to a blue paper. The rectangles represented the wooden blocks they would use to build a path for a Hex Bug to travel through. They then built this path from their blueprint. If the Hex Bug could not travel the entire course, we discussed why that might have happened. The students decided that the “walls” weren’t strong enough and that the engineer would need to change the blueprint and try again.
The 4th graders were challenged to build a structure at least 6 inches above the tabletop that could support the weight of a pumpkin. The students could only straws, newspaper, and a few inches of tape. After quickly using the tape provided, plans were redesigned. Some figured out that crisscrossing the straws was support enough for the pumpkin and needed no tape. Another student bundled the straws with a strip of newspaper and used a small piece of tape on the paper, keeping the straws intact. This challenge really had the 4th graders practicing resilience and the design cycle as multiple attempts to complete it were used by all.
The 4th graders worked this week to build a ring of out of the chips inside one can of Pringles. They really practiced the engineering habit of mind, resilience, as their structures fell multiple times during the class period. They also drew on what they learned about cantilevers last week to help with the construction.
The kindergarten and first grade worked on their first design challenge of the school year this week. They spent the first 2 weeks of school practicing different building techniques and learning about what materials are good for different building tasks. The challenge was, using cardboard, Legos, cups, and blocks, build the tallest tower you can. They used the design cycle to come up with a plan to work off of first. After, completing the tower, they redesigned to see if they could make it even taller. So many Stemmy elements in one lesson!
Grade 8 participated in a short design challenge where they were asked to design and build a way to protect a Pringle dropped from a 6 m height, using only 4 inches of tape and one sheet of newspaper. After a successful attempt, the students then redesigned their package to use even less materials. The then shared what was learned from the activity with the rest of their classmates.
Can you build a chain out of newspaper that is strong enough to hold a bucket of water? Our 4th graders did just that this week in STEM lab. The chain needed to be 4 links long and could not be attached to the bucket. You could only use one sheet of newspaper to make this happen. All the students had to really use the design cycle plan, build, test, while working on this task. Many failed at their first several attempts, but showed resilience and didn’t give up!
After reviewing the design cycle, the the second and third graders were given an opportunity to practice using it. They were tasked with building the tallest tower they could using only the supplies in their school box or pouch. the tallest tower built was just over 32 inches tall.
Happy Summer! I hope you have a relaxing break from school and get outside to enjoy the nice weather. Remember to continue to have an open-mind and to try new things. If you are not successful, practice resilience and keep at it. Let your curiosity lead you to do “STEMMY” things. Be resourceful and build something useful with items you find. Spend some time reflecting about how to improve your design. Collaborate with a friend to see what new things you can do. The world is out there to explore!