Hello Summer!

I hope everyone has a relaxing summer!  Take some time to think about the Engineering habits of Mind that you use during you summer activities and how you used the design cycle.  I will see you in the fall!


Musical Instruments

Since fifth grade has been discussing sound in Science class, in STEM lab they designed and built musical instruments.  The goal was to build an instrument that could play at least three different pitches.  The students were provided shoe boxes, fishing line, rubber bands, two different types of drinking straws, card stock, tape, paper clips, and glue.  Some of the instruments made were drums, guitars, flutes, and kazoos.




Force and Motion

After talking about forces, pushes and pulls, the kindergarten class was given the opportunity to apply this knowledge.  So, in STEM lab, we assembled marshmallow launchers.  Each student built two launchers.  These were constructed from a paper or styrofoam cup and a balloon.  Once completed, we took them outside to test them out.  If given the chance to redesign the students concluded that the paper cup worked better because they were sturdier, and that you should only cut off a little of your balloon so it stayed in place better.  They also thought that smaller marshmallows would travel farther when launched than the larger ones I provided.

In Demand Jobs

May 11th the students of SJS participated in an all day event called In Demand Jobs Seminar.  During the morning the students listened to speakers share about their STEM careers.  We heard from a veterinarian, a surveyor, a civil engineer, and an industrial engineer.

During the afternoon the students worked on career interest inventories and spent some time at the Exploring Engineering exhibits in the gym.  Here the students were given a chance to participate in activities that were representative of nine different types of engineers.  For example, some students built working models of the hand during STEM lab.  This provided the students with the chance to see that a biomedical engineer might design and build prosthetics.


I would like to extend my thanks to all of my speakers and parent volunteers that helped make this day such a wonderful experience for the students!

A Helping Hand

I asked several 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to build a working model of a hand.  They were provided with cardboard, hot glue and glue gun, drinking straws, scissors, yarn, and rubber bands.  These models will be tested on May 11th in the Exploring Engineering displays at our In Demand Jobs Seminar.  This will help our students to see one of the things a biomedical engineer might do is to design, build, and test prosthetic appendages.

4th Grade Design Challenge

The 4th graders have been learning about the states of matter in their science class.  In STEM lab they were provided with egg cartons, plastic eggs, paper towel tubes, fabric scraps, newspaper, pipe cleaners, foil, waxed paper, and tape and asked to build a structure that will slow down the melting of an ice cube.  The structure was to to be designed and built so that the progression of the melting cube could be easily checked.


Pasta Skeletons

The third graders were challenged to build the skeleton using different types of dry pasta for a specific skeleton.




Grade 2 STEM Lab

Innovative Redesigns

The students of SJS really showed some innovative thinking when they redesigned their cardboard box design challenge.  Here is what they come up with.

8th grade- birdhouse with an elevator for injured birds

7th grade- suggestion box for the library with a flag and dial alerting staff how many suggestions have been made

6th grade- a wheeled bin to carry lunches with a shelved mechanism inside to remove the lunches in an organized way

5th grade- remote controlled box was changed to a box that is transported by a drone so it can deliver things to the home-bound or handicapped

4th grade- lined doghouse with storage for toys with a feeding system that is run remotely by an app

3rd grade- recycling bin with innovations TBD

2nd grade- lost and found container with labeled compartments and a clothing rack for hanging items that will possibly locate the owners by using DNA

1st grade- storage system for classwork and items from desk that will now sort the papers that are turned in for the teacher and alert him/her if any student has not turned in the assignment


kdg- pillows for the reading area that is now capable of connecting to technology so a story be listened to


Kindergarten Design Challenge

The kindergarteners were issued the following design challenge in STEM Lab.

The Empire State Building in NYC has approximately 100 floors (1454 feet tall). Georgette, a baby gorilla, wants to climb it like her hero, King Kong. Her dad, George, thinks that is way too tall for such a small gorilla to climb. Collaborate in groups of 4 or 5 to design and build a tower/building that is at least 100 cm tall for Georgette to practice climbing on.

*The tower must be free standing.
*It will be measured from the floor up.
*You can only use tape to assemble your building.
*You may only use 15 total items from the list below in your construction.
plastic lids
zip ties
toilet paper tubes
large plastic straws
drinking straws
cotton candy holders
cotton swabs
popsicle sticks
craft stick
coffee filters
uncooked spaghetti noodles
pipe cleaners
foam bricks
plastic forks
wooden skewers
cardboard sucker sticks