skip to main content

STEM Program

3-5 STEM ClassTop of Page

Bone Bridges

For our first STEM project, students were asked to build a bridge for either weight or capacity. Students were given specific criteria in order to build their bridges.
 
Students were given the exact same amount and type of materials to begin building their bridges.
  • Clothespins
  • Q-tips
  • Jumbo craft sticks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws
The bridge had to be at least 2 inches tall and 8 inches wide. Students were given rulers to measure their bridges and make sure they were following the guidelines.
 
Once their bridge was complete and met the measurement guidelines, students began stacking pennies on their bridges to see how many they could fit without the bridge collapsing or pennies sliding off.
 
One student fit 284 pennies on her bridge! 

Water Slide

For the month of January, students will design and build a water slide!
 
The guidelines for the water slide are:
  • Can't leak
  • Can't fall apart
  • A little figurine has to be able to slide down safely
 
Students were not limited on materials for this project; they were able to use empty water bottles, foil trays, straws, pipe cleaners, etc.
 
We were able to reach out to Holiday World for this project, and see the live feed of their newest water slide currently being built, the Cheetah Chaser. Students learned where Holiday World gets their slides (ProSlides, out of Canada) and we discussed how the slides manage to make it all the way to Santa Claus from Canada! They learned that theme park engineers put the slides together once they are delivered.
 
Students were successful in building their water slides, and were eager to show them off to classmates.
 
Awards were given for the following:
  • Problem Solving Award - for being a great engineer and building the most reliable water slide.
  • Creativity Award - for being a great engineer and using the most creative tools for your water slide.
  • Enthusiasm Award - for being a great engineer and showing lots of excitement for the project!
 

Island Shelter

In this module, students will be drawing lesson plans for, and creating blueprints for an island shelter.
 
Requirements for this project:
  • Shelter must be at least 5" tall
  • Be able to withstand high wind (in our case, a blow dryer on the highest setting!)
  • Must be waterproof
In addition to these requirements, students have also been given a specific list of materials to use:
  • 4 sheets of construction paper
  • 4 straws
  • glue stick
  • 1/2" piece of scotch tape
  • small Styrofoam plate
Students are learning about architecture, and what it might be like to work as someone who acts as a translator of sorts in order to execute the requested design.
 
Each student has already completed the planning stage and will begin building their shelters during Valentine's week.
 
We will continue to work on these for the remainder of February, and can't wait to see what they come up with!
 
Students had so much fun with this project, and learned they need to plan a little longer before jumping in with supplies ;)

6-8 STEM ClassTop of Page

sphero Bolts

Students were able to explore with iPad app powered robots. The sphero Bolts are sphere-shaped robots, that will move based on the code a student programs.

The easiest way to program these little balls of fun would be to use the draw feature. Students can simply design a pattern for the Bolt to follow using the grid.

Taking coding a step further, students are able to change the speed, direction, color, sound, light pattern and so much more using the programming blocks.

More advanced skills involve programming the Bolts using JavaScript.

Electrical Engineer

Middle school students are learning about how electricity works, and what an electrical engineer does on the job.
 
Students are also learning that electrical engineers are responsible for solving problems related to electricity. Electricity is a valuable resource that is still not available all over the world.
 
Introducing new terminology and asking challenging questions are helping students think outside the box and expand their knowledge-base on a seemingly simple, every day utility.
 
Students were able to work with a voltage meter to use a positive and a negative conductor to see if a piece of fruit would produce any electrical current. Several different types of batteries were also tested, and they learned that a AA battery has the same voltage as a D battery.
 
These students enjoyed working with a volt meter and seeing the differences side by side on a bar graph.

Renovations

During the month of February, RCA middle school STEM students are working on building renovations. Students were given two scenarios, and had to choose which renovation they wanted to complete.
 
In addition to the scenarios, these students are learning about what it takes to get a building permit, draw blueprints, and why renovations can be more cost-effective than replacing the entire building.
 
Students are also learning about architecture and how the perfect renovation can brighten a city block and continue to be a functional building.
 
The first reno project is for an apartment building. The scenario discusses the concerns of residents, and just what needs to be fixed in order to be up to code to make the residents happy and safe.
 
The second option for the renovation project is a plaza square. The plaza shops need windows and doors replaced (or even added!), some roofs have caved in, and the buildings don't face the plaza center. 
 
Students have chosen their renovation project and have completed the blueprints for the restorations. Next, they will build their renovation projects with the renovations completed.
 
Middle school students completed their projects and were awarded "building occupancy permits" which means their renovations were safe and they can allow people in their buildings! Great job!

STEM Class in Action!Top of Page

Student drawn blueprints.
Student drawn blueprints.
Student working on blueprints.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student displaying project strength in STEM lab
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
 Students working with materials in STEM lab.
Teacher and student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with voltage meter.
Teacher and students going over vocabulary words in STEM lab
Students working with materials in STEM lab.
Male and female students with sphero Bolt robotic balls.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Teacher and students working with voltage meter in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
sphero Bolt robotic balls on a table
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Male student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.
Female student working with materials in STEM lab.