Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What's Going on in the Lab? Stacking Cups!

So glad you are here to see what we have been up to!
This week it's all about stacking cups!
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

When this challenge was first considered about two years ago I thought it sounded too much like Minute-to-Win-It! As much as I knew the kids would have fun, I also wanted this to have some educational value! Right?
Can't just have fun in school......

Anyway, I added the features of calculating mean, median, mode, and range.
Kids start with a couple of performance tasks that involve stacking cups, based on task rules.
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
Those photos all show my fourth graders doing the task about a week ago. They are using 3 ounce white plastic cups.
Now, let me tell you a little secret!
The first time we tried this challenge I used Styrofoam cups- because they are really cost efficient.
Here's an old photo:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
These cups make spectacular stacks, but there's one BIG PROBLEM!
The static cling of Styrofoam cups will make you crazy. I mean bonkers, out of your mind, nuts! Just when the kids would get a stack ready to measure or count, the next cup would make a bunch under it slide and the whole thing would collapse.
We tried wiping them down with dryer sheets and washing our hands and nothing worked! They did get better after being used for about the second time- so I would suggest using OLD cups!

So, this year I invested in some little plastic cups! Good decision.

Another task has the kids predicting how many cups it will take to reach a specific height:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
I made marks on our lab tables to use instead of meter sticks- only in the interest of time! You could add measurement to this challenge and really cover some math skills!

The last task has kids trying to build a stack, but they have to make it an unusual shape! Check these out:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

Overall, it's a really fun activity, but has just enough math in it to make it worth your time. The kids leave knowing how to calculate mean, median, mode, and range!
And how to stack some cups!


Join me next Wednesday for another edition of:

Coming soon:
Marble Runs
Water Towers
Mystery Builds
Building Boxes

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