STEM Week: DIY Kite

This week, students got to get creative by designing their very own kites!  They were allowed to use whatever tools they wanted to build their design.  After drawing the blueprints and writing the steps, students began the construction process.  Some used paper; some used plastic; and one student even brought in fabric from home!  We taped down some straws, drew the shape, and cut it out.  We made tails and added some string.

Then, we went out to test our kites!  The wind speed was about 8 mph that day.  Through trial and error, we got some to fly.  Some stayed in the air for a long time;  some flew for only seconds at a time; one did not fly at all (☹ this student used sticks as his framework, which was too heavy on this not-so-windy day).  After enjoying our short time outside (it was really hot!), we came back inside and reflected on our designs.  Students discussed how weight and wind speed affected their kites’ success.

Overall, it was a fun STEM project to end our year.  And since each student designed his own kite, they get to keep their kites to enjoy over summer break!

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Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

This week’s STEM challenge included art and literacy, while using technology to create videos.

For the past two weeks, students have been working on persuasive writing.  To make our opinion pieces more interesting, students were challenged to write persuasive advertisements based on cures from our novel study, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.  In this book, an old woman who lives in an upside down house uses comical, positive cures to correct kids of bad habits.  Of the cures found in the book, students had to choose one of these three: “The Answer-Backer Cure,” “The Radish Cure,” or “The Selfishness Cure.”

Instructions

  1. You MUST choose either Penelope the Parrot, the Selfish Kit, or Radish Seeds to advertise.
  2. You MUST mention what they can cure children of and how to use them properly.
  3. You MUST remember that you are advertising to parents, so you want to make the advertisement appealing to them.
  4. You MUST include a neat, colored picture showing your product.
  5. You MUST include the name of your item in BIG, BOLD letters.
  6. You MUST also include the price of your item.

Below are a few ads:

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Students, then, worked in groups to create commercials using a simple video app on the Kindle.  From writing their scripts to producing and editing their commercials, I am beyond amazed of the creativity, teamwork, and professionalism in the creation of these videos:

Rudeness Cure: Penelope the Parrot

Dirtiness Cure: Radish Seeds

Selfishness Cure: Selfish Kit

STEM Friday: The Human Body

This week, we have been learning about the human body.  We distinguished the major body parts and discussed their basic functions.  During our respiratory system study, we even made a lung model to demonstrate how we use our diaphragm and lungs to breathe.

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For our STEM Friday activity, all students were assigned a body part.  They, then, had to create it using the materials provided and place it in the correct place on the body model.

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The final product!
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I especially loved this heart that Patrick, Kennedy, and David worked so hard on! Great teamwork!

Before creating our human body model, we enjoyed playing a few center activities: playing charades to review vocabulary and building models of the heart and skeleton.

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Playing charades
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Building the skeleton
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Building the heart model

STEM Friday: Toothpick Challenge

This Week’s Challenge

Build the tallest, free-standing, structure using only the materials provided.

Teams had 45 minutes to build their structures.  At the end of the building phase, students had to measure the height of their towers to the nearest centimeter.

Materials (per team)

  1. 100 toothpicks
  2. Half a bag of mini marshmallows

Results

After trying not to eat most of our marshmallows, these were the results:

image Team France: 13 cmimage Team Canada: 14.5 cmimage Team England: 10 cmimage Team America: 11 inches

The winner: Team Canada with 14.5 cm!

STEM Friday: Personal Flotation Device

This Week’s Challenge

For this week’s challenge, students had to design a personal flotation device, or life jacket, with enough support to float a 6 oz can.

Materials (per team)

  1. Soft foam
  2. 10 Rubber bands
  3. 5 Straws
  4. 5 Paperclips
  5. 5 Popsicle sticks
  6. 1 piece 14 X 14 in. foil
  7. 1 piece 14 X 14 in. bubble wrap
  8. 3 Balloons
  9. 3 Paper cups
  10. 1 Ziploc bag
  11. 1 yard of tape
  12. 1 6 oz can

Rules

  1. Build a flotation device that will keep a 6 oz can afloat for at least 60 seconds.
  2. The flotation device must be affixed to the can and part of the can has to touch the water.  In other words, your design is not a boat; it must be attached to the can.
  3. You have 60 minutes (two 30-minute sessions) to build your device.
  4. Your flotation device must be able to be affixed to the can within 20 seconds.
  5. The longer the can stays  afloat, the more points you earn (see scoring guide below).
  6. You do not have to use all of the materials.
  7. You may share and exchange materials with other teams.
  8. Materials will not be replaced.

Scoring

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Working hard building our devices.

Everyone did a great job working together and staying on task.  In the end, Team France was victorious with a total of 1500 points.  However, they were not able to get the device on within the 20 seconds limit.  Team Canada came in second, with 920 points.  The can began sinking after about 6 minutes.  Team England’s device was not quite strong enough to support the weight of the can.  As a result, the can “flinked.”  It did not sink to the bottom nor float at the top.  Team America’s device was not able to support the weight of the can and ended up sinking to the bottom as soon as it hit the water.  However, they were able to put the device on within 20 seconds.

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Team France’s and Team Canada’s devices floating in the water
Final Score:
Team France: 1500 points
Team Canada: 920 points
Team England: 21 points
Team America: 20 points

Solar Powered Oven

Written by David

We used heat from the sun to cook. We cooked s’mores and pizza. First we made the oven. We used a pizza box, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.We taped the aluminum foil and plastic wrap to the box. The aluminum foil made the sunlight reflect off and go into the plastic wrap which went through and went into the pizza box which got trapped where the food is.

STEM Friday: Exploring Light

Introducing the basic concepts of light, students experienced, hands-on, how light energy helps us see.  Using three LED light sources, we demonstrated and discussed the sources of light; the difference between opaque, transparent, and translucent objects; how light can be absorbed (blocked) or transmitted (passed through); and how light travels in straight lines and spreads out as it moves away from its source.

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Students were fascinated with this exploration!  Below were the big ideas for this activity:

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