What does a scientist look like?

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.

Balancing Tennis Balls

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.

Flex Day

The student anxiously awaited the first flex day of the year.  Some classes practiced the engineering habits of mind while others worked the design cycle.  First grade worked on learning about having a growth mindset.  Third grade worked in pairs to build the longest possible chain out of one sheet of paper.  Second grade build kites.  Sixth grade used what they learned about variable in Science this week and built several models of paper airplanes to test.

Creating Models

The fifth graders randomly chose to build a model of an animal from the mystery bag.  The materials they were given were paper, paper plates, and cupcake liners.  All of the groups found inventive ways to use these materials to design their animals.  One group built a snake with a habitat for it to interact in.  Another group used layered the cupcake liners to add texture to their model.

Welcome Back to STEM Lab

Grades 1-5 participated in a “mystery” build.  A student from each class randomly drew a card from the “build bag” telling the groups what they were going to create.  Then, three more students each drew a card from the “materials” bag.  Using only these three items and tape, the groups worked collaboratively to complete the task.  For example, grade 3 worked on building a table using forks, foil, and cotton swabs.  Grade 4 worked on building a tower using paper plates, rubber bands, and clothes pins.  These classes will be given additional time to complete the task and will share their final projects with their classmates next time STEM lab meets.



Reflection is one of the Engineering Habits of Mind our students practice.  To end the school year, each class spent some time reviewing what they worked on in STEM lab and other “STEMMY” activities from other classes they participated in throughout the year.  Grades 6, 7, and 8 collaborated to create a top 5 list.  Kindergarten through grade 5 made a flower.  Each petal was something specific to reflect on such as their favorite STEM lab activity or the most challenging thing they worked on in STEM lab.  Based on the student responses, this year was a success!

Favorite Projects

Grade 8- Harvest Cart            

This was the 8th grade’s solution to food insecurity.  They created an app that will allow people who live in food desserts to order healthy foods that would then be delivered.  This project was presented in Columbus at the Battelle STEM showcase.

Grade 7- Medieval Project/Can Races Using Static Electricity

The seventh graders really debated which projects they enjoyed most.  The top votes were received by the Medieval Siege Towers and Battering rams and racing cans with the static electricity from a balloon.  Their “Top Five List” rounds out with #3 standing on paper cups, #4 building a candy cane grabber, and #5 building a straw tower.

Grade 6- Foley Sound

The six graders greatly debated the order of numbers 2-5 of their “Top Five” STEM project list.  Number 1 was very clear, the Foley Sound project.  After reading a radio play in ELA class, the students came to STEM lab and added sound effects to a short script they found.  The sounds needed to be made with object and not just their voices.  Each group recorded the play with the added sound.

Grade 5- Making Paper Planes

The students were asked to build a paper airplane that was no longer than 20cm and flew the greatest distance using only a single sheet of paper.  Many types of paper were provided to test their designs.  This project was references ad the favorite STEM lab project, the best thing they learned this year, and what they will remember most.

Grade 4- Dash the Robot

The biggest surprises for grade 4 this year were learning that you could use Dash to participate in a design challenge, coming back to school and finding the NEW Makerspace, and learning about food insecurity.


Grade 3- Flag Pole

The hardest thing for third grade to learn this year was how to make a working flag pole.  The flag pole was to be at least 20 cm tall and could only be constructed from newspaper, tape, and string.


Grade 2- Dash, 3D Pumpkins, and Collaboration

Many of the second graders wrote that their favorite STEM project was either working with Dash, making a 3D pumpkin, or building a dog sled.  Most also said that the best thing the learned this year was how to collaborate.

Grade 1- Bubbles/”Never give up!”

The best thing the first graders learned this year was about bubbles.  They were studying mixtures and solutions in science.  In STEM lab we created various bubble solutions made from water and dish soap.  The members of each team also used materials in the Makerspace to make a bubble wand to test the solutions.  Their best advice for new students is to never give up!


Kindergarten- Mummies and Castle

Kindergarten really enjoyed working on the mummy project in October.  Using only newspaper, tape, and toilet paper, the students were to work collaboratively to build the tallest mummy.  They also really liked building their castle.  From this were learned the value of resilience, another engineering habit of mind.  When I tried to move it to the MPR, it fell apart.  The students quickly thought of ways to improve the design it the opportunity to rebuild it ever presented itself.


Straw Towers

The seventh and eighth graders were divided into groups to see which group could construct the tallest tower using only 50 straws and 3 feet of tape.  The tallest tower was over 6 feet tall!


Memorial Day Flag Poles

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.