Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Launching Our Catapults

Yesterday in our Lower Division STEM Club students finished building their catapults and launched them for accuracy!

During the design and building process, students had lots of GREAT conversations about how they could refine and tweak their catapults to make them launch farther and with more accuracy. One student team used additional clothes pins to increase the angle of their catapult's platform to reduce the vertical trajectory and increase the horizontal trajectory. One of the best parts of STEM activities like catapult building is when students are faced with challenges like this, and get to come up with their own creative approaches and solutions!

Students came up with many different and creative designs for their catapults.

We did not have enough time to launch for distance this week, so we're going to keep the catapult prototypes in the classroom for now. After we spend a couple of weeks on MinecraftEDU building challenges, we will launch our catapults for distance and then let students decide (or figure out in a somewhat fair way, like "rock, paper, scissors" or a coin toss) who can take home the catapults.

More photos from this week's catapult launches are available in our Flickr photo set for this STEM unit.

Congratulations to the "Medieval Ladies" group who earned the most points in our catapult accuracy launch competition! All the students were truly winners in this STEM activity, however, because everyone successfully collaborated, designed, build, and tested their ideas!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Catapult Projects in LD STEM Club

Today in Lower Division STEM Club our students started building catapults! We watched and discussed several videos about catapults (both large and small) and discussed some of the physics of catapults, including potential and kinetic energy. Students were introduced to a variety of catapult building materials in our "STEM store" and filled out budget sheets before "going shopping" with teammates using $1000 "STEM store dollars." Then catapult construction began! We'll be continuing to build our catapults next week, and will be launching them for both distance and accuracy. An album of 23 photos from our catapult builds today are available on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Engineering Design Builds

Today in Lower Division STEM Club students participated in two different "Engineering Design Builds:" a Cantilever Span Building Challenge and a Lego Tower Building Challenge. Check out 19 photos of students building in this Flickr set.

What to Expect in Lower Division STEM Club

Today is our first day of Lower Division STEM Club, and Mr. Lopez and I are excited to get started! We'll be sharing photos, links and videos about our activities in STEM Club on this website throughout the semester. We will be meeting eight times, and the time is probably going to fly by! Here are some of the projects we are planning to do together. These may change, but this is what we're planning at this point:

  1. Engineering Design Projects: Cantilever Spans and Lego Tower Build
  2. Catapults
  3. MinecraftEDU Collaborative Building Challenges
  4. Green Screen Videography (using iPads)
  5. Coding with Hopscotch (using iPads)

This video from my STEM class in Yukon last year features some students talking about their expectations of STEM class. I hope you're expecting great things from our STEM Club this year! We are going to have a fun and learn a lot about science, technology, engineering and math together!

posted by Dr. Fryer