Another fantastic challenge that we used across several grade levels- just toughen the constraints a little and you can do this with just about any challenge.
This one was about building a platform to hold an APPLE!
This great challenge was part of a package created by Renee at The Science School Yard.
The package is called: STEM Back to School Fun Pack! We have now tried all three challenges and enjoyed them so much!
I knew this one was going to be a little challenging since we have built platforms in the past. We started the class time by talking about what platforms are and how they are secured to the ground or a building (like a balcony). This challenge was called an Apple Tower challenge, but I called it a platform for a very simple reason!
I tried it with second graders before the older kids!
I wasn't sure what they would do with it if I called it a tower. I could only envision apples falling from really tall towers and bursting, so......
Anyway, Problem #1 to Solve: After the platform is built and you place weight on it, it begins to lean. What will you do?
You can see from the above photos that my older kids were very quick to add extra legs to support their platforms. It was really interesting to see how those legs were moved until somehow the structure was staying balanced! You may also notice that the platforms were taped to the table, but the kids quickly discovered this was not always enough support.
Problem #2 to Solve: Can you creatively use the straws?
These are still photos of third and fourth grade groups and they already know how to use the bendy part of the straw to their advantage. See where my arrows are pointing? The bendy part becomes a joint to make a leg for support!
Problem # 3 to Solve: Is there another way to use the materials to make a stable base?
Some groups tried the wide legs for stability while others tried the square base method. They simply used the materials to attach all the legs together with cross or side beams. The bottom photo is showing the side beams. but, take a close look at that top photo. The team tried those supports directly underneath the platform, but it was still falling over. They next tried, craft stick "skates". There was actually a good reason for this! The straws kept sliding and the sticks were not long enough, so they joined the two items together!
The third graders did a fabulous job with the platforms!
How will second graders do with this challenge?
Well, take a look! They solved this in much the same ways as the older kids! The top photo is a very simple platform, while the bottom photo shows those extra support legs! These kids were so excited when a platform would stand and hold that apple aloft!
So, what about the fourth graders! Some of them did apples, but some of them tried a different item for the top of the platform!
I just happened to have some pumpkins on hand (from another challenge), so when they built platforms we used those!
Y'all, this was so much fun! Easy prep, easy materials, and the kids loved it! Fabulous problem solving and it worked for three grade levels! (I know the 5th graders would have also done well, For them, I would have added some rules about height!)
Go visit Science Schoolyard!