Friday, February 21, 2014

Five For Friday {February 21, 2014}

This week I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five For Friday and sharing pictures from my very first attempt at S.T.E.M. Friday in my science classroom. I couldn't wait to try some of Smart Chick's S.T.E.M. Engineering Challenges that I found on her blog. If you are considering integrating S.T.E.M. this year or in the near future, I highly recommend you checking out this awesome blog.

With all the weather related snow days and delays that we've had at school lately, we ended up having Valentine's Day Parties and the 100th Day of School on the same day last Friday. That meant doubly hyped excited kiddos all day long. On top of that, Friday is Friday Science Flicks day in the science room. My students look so forward to their day of fun, mostly science-related videos, that I could not dare throw anything different at them. Not this day. So we ended up watching Magic School Bus and Steve Spangler videos rather than doing all my great S.T.E.M. Engineering Challenges that I had planned that day. Ho Hum.

Anyway, so I decided to postpone S.T.E.M. Friday until this week. I'm glad I did because it went off without a hitch and the students had a blast. I did too!

The first thing I did was to print out the title of each Engineering Challenge along with the directions and put them inside a sheet protector.  I put all the materials for each Challenge in one of my FOSS tubs, one per science table. Throughout their 40 minute science period, I had students rotate to at least one or two other tables as centers.

ONE: For this first challenge, students needed to use (100 for the 100th day) toothpicks and two cups of mini-marshmallows to construct the highest free-standing tower possible. It needed to be strong enough to hold up a weight of some kind.

It took the students a little while to figure out how to design their structures. Their biggest challenges were getting the structures to stand up and coping with sticky fingers caused by handling the marshmallows so much. They didn't complain too much though. They were having too much fun figuring out how to make their towers.

TWO: For their second challenge, students did the House of Cards Challenge. For this one, they used one deck of cards to try to construct the tallest tower possible on a flat surface, using only one pack of playing cards.

Just getting the cards to stand up was a huge challenge for my second graders. They started out on the table and ended up on the carpet for more traction. This is one challenge that they will need to ponder for next time.

THREE: The third challenge was called the Geodesic Dome Challenge. For this one, students used toothpicks and Dots candies to construct a geodesic dome strong enough to hold up a small stuffed animal. Do you know how hard it was to keep those yummy smelling gummies out of the mouths of my second graders? I admit I had to pull the "MILLION TRILLION GERMS" card on them before they thought twice about popping one in their mouths without me looking. You better believe those that tried got told on though. Kids are so funny!

I could tell this was one of my students' favorites. Some of them were even able to make the dome. They were so proud when they got their dome to actually hold a TY beanie baby.

FOUR: Another challenging center was the Note Card Tower Challenge. For this one, students were challenged to use 100 note cards and only 12 inches of scotch tape to construct a tower at least two feet tall that could hold up a small stuffed animal.

This was quite the challenge for most groups, but one group actually got a tower up and holding a beanie baby. Okay. Yes, the adult in the background did help them out a lot. (Wink).

FIVE: For another center, students put together 100 piece puzzles. This was even a challenge for my second graders. I was surprised that not one group got a complete puzzle together within the class period. They worked hard at them though.

PLUS ONE MORE: The most favorite of the challenges of the day was one of the simplest (doesn't it figure?). The 100 Cups Challenge. Students loved making castles and towers with these paper cups. The funnest part of all however for them was crashing them down on the table. 

And oh, one more thing I promise. TpT is having huge SALE starting on 2/27-2/28. Everything in my store will be 20% off. Don't miss it! Stock up on all your wish list items.

Have a great weekend, everybody!



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