Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It's Tower Week in the Lab!

So, what are you up to in your science class? Join me and link up your blog post! It will be up for two weeks!

Here's what you do:
1. Grab the button below to display on your post.
2. Please link the button back to this blog so our readers can see lots of science topics!
3. Link up at the bottom of my post!

So, what have we been doing?
It's all about towers!
STEM Challenge! It's all about building towers in STEM class! Blog post with many versions- all fun!

We love to build towers! Sometimes the towers have a purpose or certain constraints. Other times the tower just follows the Engineering Design Process without specific rules. The tower is dictated by the materials!
The absolute NUMBER ONE question students ask when I announce we are building a tower is this one, "Does the tower have to support weight?" OR "Do we have something that has to be at the top?"
HA! They have learned that I do sometimes add weight and that changes everything with building a tower!

Here's our all time favorite tower:
THE GREAT SPAGHETTI TOWER
STEM Challenge: It's the great Spaghetti challenge! How are the legs of this tower even standing?
Those spindly strands of spaghetti have to be able to support something!
Here are two more we tried lately that had to support weight:
STEM Challenge: One of our favorite towers to build! The tower must use all the materials and hold a ball aloft!
This one had some weird supplies and had to hold a tennis ball (that is a racquet ball which weighed the same and I was out of tennis balls!)

It's a Egg Tower! STEM Challenges are fun to complete and will have your kids working together in such amazing ways!
This one is made of newspaper and had to support....are you ready for this?
AN EGG!

ANYWAY... this brings me to what we have been doing more recently.
I had this Brain Pop and came up ....
....Towers of Dozens!
The challenge was to use a dozen of something and build a tower. No weight was added!

First Dozen:
One dozen inches of foil.
Do you know how flimsy foil is?
STEM Challenge! Can you build a tower using only two materials and what if one of the materials is very flimsy? How will you get the tower to stand upright?

STEM Challenge! Can you build a tower using only two materials and what if one of the materials is very flimsy? How will you get the tower to stand upright?
It's all about the support system for this supply.

The next Dozen:
One dozen index cards!
STEM Challenge: Build a tower using only a dozen of each material!
How many different ways can you roll, cut, and fold an index card?

Finally, the last Dozen:
One dozen straws!
STEM Challenge: Build a tower using only a dozen of each material!

STEM Challenge: Build a tower using only a dozen of each material!

STEM Challenge: Build a tower using only a dozen of each material!

At some point while we were working on these towers I began to worry that there was no real purpose.
Then I remembered this:
1. EVERY STEM challenge presents us with collaboration opportunities and the growth we see in how to get along with others and work together is phenomenal!
2. EVERY STEM challenge uses the Engineering Design Process and the kids are learning so much about data recording, planning, sketching, and combining their ideas.
3. EVERY STEM challenge creates a chance to use mistakes to make something work better. Who doesn't want to do that?
4. It's about the process. It's about collaboration. It's about group dynamics. It's about learning from errors. But mostly, it's about the celebration of success.

If you like towers, you might also love bridges:

3 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for letting me link up again, Carol! I wasn't sure I'd be able to get a post up but am glad I had a few minutes to upload a few pictures from our latest engineering challenge. I wish I had a PA to do all my social media for me. Maybe someday! ;-)

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    Replies
    1. A personal assistant! Now, that is exactly what I need! Sadly, I just have cats that lay on my keyboard! Thanks so much!

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  2. Great ideas! I'm going to try a straw tower in a teacher inservice in Cambodia!

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