STEM FridayEach Friday for the rest of our Second Grade year, we will be completing a task rich in science, technology, engineering and math. These challenges will encourage the learners to - above all- become problem solvers.
The first task was to create a 'pipeline' to transport a natural resource from one place to another without spills. The only materials allowed were styrofoam cups, straws, and duct tape. They were given 30 minutes to complete the job.
The room was filled with chatter discussing the most effective way to work as a team. Then they grabbed the materials and began to test ideas. They tried (and failed) several times before they hit on an idea that actually worked.
We learned some invaluable lessons. Here are some quotes from our budding engineers. "The problem seemed so simple, but it really took a lot of work." "When oil spills happen, they are mostly just accidents." and "If I become an engineer when I grow up, I know not to fix an oil leak with duct tape!"
It is always amazing to me how learners make connections with things we are learning in class. We learned how to find area using squares and square units. Since then, they have pointed out the word 'area' at least a dozen times in other contexts, too.
We first viewed something of great interest to my class - Minecraft characters. We noticed how they are all made of squares, which make them perfect for our study of area. Next, our mathematicians created Minecraft characters of their own using grid paper.
The next step was to write questions for a fellow classmate to answer about the area of the character they created.
I can say for certain, that our learners have a deeper understanding of this concept.