Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hydraulic Arms...STEM

"Mrs. LaCrosse, I've NEVER used a screwdriver before!"

"What would happen if we had bigger syringes?"

"Hey, let's use the robo-arms together to make pyramid between them!"

"Oh my gosh, this is the coolest! Can I buy my own?"

The week was full of teamwork, questions, trial & error, and excitement as 105 students worked through a VERY long set of instructions to build 4 hydraulic arms.

Using simple tools like white glue, hot glue guns (with my help), screwdrivers, water & food coloring, kits, and directions, the students worked carefully and collaboratively to build the arms for later use.

The critical thinking skills that students had to use were made really obvious as I followed suggestions to be less helpful.

(Check out Dan Meyer's talk...

By giving them the freedom to work together, ask questions, and explore, the room simulated what I would consider a real world design environment.

The really fun part came after two days of assembly when students participated in robo-challenges! They designed their own challenges. One group set up robo-baseball with one arm holding a bat (paper towel tube) and another with a small play dough container. Another group had a pyramid stacking challenge. Finally, one group worked to pass objects back and forth.

Role playing and make believe talk filled the room with students imagining they were manipulating Mars rovers and moon base equipment! Awesome!

And, during the building and "play" phase, what other activities were going on?
Brain Pop-star life cycle
Study Island-earth and space questions
Book work-reading about our sun and other stars
Galaxy art work-glitter projects

Great way to practice our STEM skills!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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