First Grade Goes STEMing!
Students in the first grade at Ryan Road have put on their STEM hats and are diving into a six-session long exploration of the engineering and design principles. Ms. Ramsden, Ms. Stenuis and Ms. Maggio’s classes are teaming up with the Tech Integration Specialist, Ms. Rocky to break into small groups in the classroom as they run through STEM tasks. Starting out this project, all the students joined together in the computer lab to learn about what goes into engineering design. Next, divided into small groups, they returned to one of four classrooms with their STEM journals to take on their tasks. Walking into Ms. Maggio’s class on Thursday morning, students were huddled around styrofoam and spaghetti as they worked in teams of three to design a bridge to support people crossing over a broken bridge into Maggio-Land. In Ms. Ramsden’s class, students were working with tape and popsicle sticks to create a cage for their smelly bears that would prevent the smell from coming out of the cage. In the Environmental Lab with Ms. Stenuis, students were working closely on designing boats out of plastic berry containers, tin foil, tape and paper tubes. Students would be testing how well their boats survived floatation when loaded with pennies in a bin of water. When asked to explain their design, students were happy to share the team thought process. “We put tin foil around the edge because it has holes and when we test it with water we don’t want those to fill with water.” Talking with another student, he explained the tubes he was taping to the bottom of boat would need some closure to prevent sinking. He tried first to fill these tubes with crumpled tin foil before deciding taping the openings closed would work more effectively. Moving into the computer lab, students were broken into three teams of three where their task was to design a house of popsicle sticks, straws or paper. These houses had to withstand the blowing of the big bad wolf (a felted wolf head taped to a fan). Teams sketched their designs in their STEM journals, had a specific amount of masking tape to use, and tested their house in three levels of big-bad-wolf-puffs, recording data on the board in the lab. They then discussed what worked well about their design and what they might do to change it in the future. These thoughts were recorded in their STEM journals before they concluded their experience.