Saturday, July 23, 2016

Start Your Engines: STEM race cars

Our school system has an amazing STEM program for students in grades 6-12.  Next year, we are going to STEAM.  The arts will become part of the curriculum and it will start in fifth grade.  I am beyond excited.  We kicked off STEAM with a week of school wide activities.  

Vel O'City showed up to teach science.  My student love when I dress up and even come up with ideas for me.  I ordered a black men's work jumpsuit from Amazon and striped it with checkered duct tape.  Cheaper than buying a costume.

The kids had a list of items that each had money values.  I gave them a budget and they had to design their car with their team.  Keep your groups no more than three!
I used the sheet from this amazing website, Teach Engineering.  It has the lesson, powerpoint and sheets.  The only thing I would change is add a little more money in the suggested budget.  I had some kids drop cars and break all their lifesaver wheels.  

Do not use Elmer's glue.  Use a glue gun.
Here are my students creating their designs.
We brainstormed how this lesson is STEAM.  We created the poster before we started.  I am so impressed with their knowledge.
The next day we started building.
Here are kids testing and redesigning.
I forgot to take pictures on race day.  It was a little crazy the last week of school...LOL!

Here are a few videos from last year.  My husband made my tracks out of coil stock for siding houses.  The website suggests gutters.  

Now it is time to start your engines!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday July 2016

I am linking up with Forever in 5th Grades Monthly Linky Party called Show and Tell Tuesday.  
Here are a few things that I'd like Show and Tell!
My family took our first trip to Portland, Maine.  We visited several breweries and wineries.  Love having children who planned the day for me.  (It was the first)
I am attracted to pirates!!!  And breweries!
Here is a project that we worked on the last few weeks of school.  They designed mini-golf courses with four holes and a list of geometry criteria.

Summer is the time to get back on track...I literally mean the track
Getting steps in is a challenge when we are not in school!
Love my new sneakers.
They had these cute mugs at Target, perfect gift card holder
for my assistant.

Please visit Forever in Fifth Grade!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Magnets: The Main Attraction

I took a break after April vacation from creating TPT materials and finally just finished my first unit this summer, Magnets: The Main Attraction.  I teach magnets as a review with my fifth graders and who can't resist magnets? I designed this unit to be used as stations and plan on starting the beginning of the year with them.  I think it will "hook" them into my science class.  If you are looking for other units, please check out my store.  I am currently working on Energy.
Click Link for TPT

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Catapults for Kids

I just love using STEM in my science and math classes.  We had just finished learning about simple machines and went into building a catapult.  The students had their supply list and were given a limited amount of time to research on the computer.  They had to sketch out their designs and were not allowed to look back at the computer the next day.

Here is the list of materials that they were allowed to use:
  • Large and small craft sticks 10 altogether
  • Rubber bands 6 or less
  • Plastic spoon 1
  • Binder clip 1
  • Plastic cup 1
  • Clothespin 1
  • glue gun and masking tape
Grouping Tip:  No more than 3 in a group!!!  It cuts down on problems.  All kids have a chance to use materials and have a say.

Here is a video I like to show my students before we start.
Link to a recording sheet on Scholastic
Great resource and engineering website with sheets: Teach Engineering

Day One:  Imagine and Design
Here are my students researching designs.  I love listening to their ideas.
 Day 2: Building
The next day we started building.  My students really had to work together and collaborate to make their designs come to life!  I had one group that wanted to give up but they persevered and got the catapult to work.  Problem solving in action.
Building Tip:  Have a glue gun on hand!!!
 I found this design on the internet with zip ties!
 Day 3: Test and Rebuild
The students have a chance to test their catapult and make adjustments as necessary.  You might want to limit the amount of times they can test.  Hint for kids: I do tell the kids that the plastic spoon will bend and lose its strength and some will break,  they really need to support it. (I learned from last year)
 Day 4-5: Test for Distance and for Accuracy (Target)
Each group had three trials for distance.  We recorded on a table.  Then ranked in order.  Great place to reinforce some math.  Record in ft/in or m/cm.  Put on a graph.

Each group also had three trials for accuracy.  I made a target with points.  We added the totals of the three.
 Here is how you can bring the A into STEM.
Have the students decorate their catapults.