STEM Friday + End-of-Year Picnic!

Finishing off our unit on forces and motion, students constructed their very own kites!  During our end-of-year class picnic, we flew the kites to see the physical forces required to keep the kites airborne.  The wind speed was only about 8 mph, so most of our kites did not last long in the air.  However,  we didn’t give up!

We had a great time during our class picnic!  So disappointing our vegetables didn’t grow enough for everyone to eat though 😦




Solar-Powered Oven

After learning about different types of energy, student practiced following step-by-step directions to build an oven to investigate how we can use heat energy to cook food.

Students built ovens out of pizza boxes and set them outside to attract light and heat from the sun to bake s’mores.


STEM Friday: Stop Motion Animation

Incorporating the science and technology portion of STEM, students completed a capstone project for what we’ve been learning in science these past couple of weeks.

This Week’s Challenge

Using the materials provided, create a stop motion animation video that explains the cause of Earth’s seasons and demonstrates the change of seasons.

Below are the final products:

Arctic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

Indian Ocean

Southern Ocean

It was challenge indeed, but they did not give up.  Given that this was their first encounter with stop motion animation, I would say they did a pretty good job!  Great job, friends!

STEM Friday: Real World Math Activity

Last Friday, students participated in a real world activity involving applying for a job, earning a salary, cashing a check from the bank, and spending money using exact change or making change at the market.  It was a great capstone project to not only practice our money skills, but also experience how math is applied in the real world.


To begin the activity, students had to apply for jobs. Jobs included teacher assistants, store associates, store clerks, store manager, bank tellers, bank manager, and a police officer to monitor the halls. Teacher assistants assisted various teachers at RCSAI to complete a specific task. Once the task was complete, students received an envelope with their checks inside. They could then cash their checks at the bank. The bank tellers and bank manager were to collect the checks and distribute the correct amount of money. Finally, students would be able to use their money at the store. At the store, students had two options: use exact change to pay for an item or pay with more to get change. The store clerks and store manager were responsible for making sure all sale transactions were accurate and issuing correct change to customers.

Busy line at the market!

STEM Friday: Mini Mayflower

I know, I know, it’s not Friday.

This Week’s Challenge

For our Thanksgiving-themed challenge, students had to plan, design, and build a mini “Mayflower” ship to float and hold the weight of 100 pebbles (representing the 100 people that traveled on the Mayflower) using only the materials provided.

Materials (per team)

  1. 5 sheets of aluminum foil
  2. 2 small dixie cups
  3. 10 popsicle sticks
  4. 10 straws
  5. 5 rubberbands
  6. tape (1 meter)
  7. 1 pair of scissors


  1. Build a boat that must float and be able to withstand the weight of at least 100 pebbles.
  2. You do not have to use all of the materials.
  3. Materials will not be replaced.

After designing and building their boats, it was time to test them!  All of the boats floated, but the real challenge was seeing if the boats could withstand weight.



The winner was Indian Ocean’s design, holding a whopping 43 pebbles! Great job, Indian Ocean!


Indian Ocean: 43
Atlantic Ocean: 31
Pacific Ocean: 2
Arctic Ocean: 10

STEM Friday: Marshmallow Challenge

This Week’s Challenge

The marshmallow challenge, sometimes called the spaghetti tower challenge, is quite popular. The task is simple, yet teaches a profound lesson and requires lots of teamwork: “in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top.” (

Materials (per team)

  1. 20 sticks of spaghetti
  2. 1 yard of tape
  3. 1 yard of string
  4. 1 marshmallow
  5. 1 pair of scissors


  1. Build the tallest, freestanding (must stand on its own) structure
  2. The marshmallow must be on top of the tower
  3. You do not need to use all of the supplies
  4. You are free to break up the spaghetti, string, and tape
  5. You will not be given extra supplies
  6. You will have exactly 18 minutes
  7. After the 18 mins. are up, the tower must stand on its own to be measured
  8. The team with the tallest tower wins

What a challenge!  Teams worked really hard to build a tower that would stand on its own.  Eventually, however, most teams gave up.  This is only the beginning of the year and our second STEM activity.  I hope through doing these, students learn not only how to think critically and creatively, but also how to work cooperatively and not have a “giving up” attitude.

In the end, Southern Ocean had the only standing tower at a height of 8 inches.  They did a great job working together and building a structure strong enough to hold the marshmallow.  I loved their use of the string to hold it all together!


Great job, friends!