How to Make the Scientific Method Fun with Hoop Flyers

Are you using straws as a building material in your STEM Class?

Let me just tell you that you can build just about anything with straws. The thing I love most is how the kids will use the bendy part of the straw in their structures. They are so clever. (*Side Note: Yes, I am aware that there is currently an outcry about the use of plastic, especially straws. We use them because it's an extremely inexpensive material option for a STEM class that has multiple units and grade levels. Yes, I wish I had programmable robots and iPads for every student, but we don't have that... yet! So, I must stick with cardboard, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and straws!)

So, how do you get a great collection of straws? Ask parents!

I asked students to bring straws to help out with lab supplies a couple of years ago and we are still using them! They didn't just bring straws. They brought thousands of straws!

So, we invented ways to use these. Hoop Flyers came from that.
A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM



So, how do you make a hoop flyer?

Super easy. You need a straw and some tape and paper. I pre-cut the paper in specific widths. I cut the paper because we were following the scientific method and this was one of the variables to control in the experiment part of this challenge.
A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM

We had a fabulous data table to record the distances the flyers flew and in a brain-pop moment, I had kids start highlighting the particular variable that was being tested. Whatever was highlighted was the only thing they could change- all other numbers (sizes) had to be the same. This worked so well and really helped us hone in on controlling those variables.

What kinds of variables did we change?

 The width of the paper was one thing we tried. Every group started off with one-inch wide paper and we also tried two inches wide. The length of the paper can also be changed.

A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM

Also, note in the above photos that we added weight to the flyers and changed the straws. The kids loved using "milkshake" straws!

TEAMWORK

Oh my, this event took the ultimate in teamwork to get it completed. We had students flying the hoop devices, students recording the distances, everyone used calculators to find average distances, and everyone helped build new flyers with new variables being changed.

A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM


Take a look below at the assembly line this team set up to make those very wide end pieces for their test flight!

STEM Challenge: Perfect way to combine the scientific method and STEM with this Hoop Flyer event!

How did we measure our flights?

We almost always use our floor tiles to measure distances. We count the tiles and multiply by 12 and add the extra distance to that total. It's a very quick way to measure.

A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM



So, did we design anything?

Absolutely! Kids designed the experiment! After completing the first test each group was free to move forward by testing the variables they wanted to test.

After all the tests were finished then we compared all the data and determined which variable produced the best flights. Students used that data to design the ultimate hoop flyer. These were tested and then demonstrated!

Total fun with some sneaky maneuvering on my part to throw in data collection, the scientific method, and designing! Click right >>>>>> HERE >>>> for more details!


A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM


Some easy materials below that will help you get going with this challenge:



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