Monday, August 26, 2013

STEM Project

What can you do with some old magazines, newspapers pulled out of the recycling bin, and 4 pieces of 3-foot long tape? You can build a bridge! On Friday afternoon the class worked with their table groups to complete a STEM challenge. What is STEM? A project that combines elements of science, technology, engineering,and math. We loved watching the groups as they put their heads together to decide how to use the meager supplies to build an object that a book could pass underneath and that would hold up when a book was dropped on top of it. The various groups approached the challenge in such different ways. In the end, the winning "bridge" was able to remain standing after I dropped FOURTEEN student math handbooks on it! Last year the winning group's bridge only withstood six books. 

We had a great follow-up conversation about this project to discuss several things:
1) What worked well in your group?
2) What didn't work with your group?
3) What would you do differently if we did this project again?
4) What did you notice about the winning group's design?
5) What were the benefits of stopping during the process to re-evaluate the work you were doing?

We will do various STEM projects throughout the year and will look forward to seeing how the students thinking evolves throughout the year.

Enjoy these photos!

The Winner! 
This "bridge" held the weight of 14 books being dropped on it!