Our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade elementary students have been working in cooperation with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for the past several weeks. The SAE sponsors a program called A World In Motion (AWIM) which is made possible by donors such as General Motors. The AWIM program brings Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to life for students in grades K-8 with hands-on activities.
Our fifth graders are participating in the Jet Toy challenge. In the JetToy Challenge, a fictitious toy company called EarthToy Designs presents the challenge in the form of a letter. The company wants students to provide a variety of interesting designs for a new line of balloon-powered vehicles made from inexpensive, common, recyclable materials that will appeal to other children. Working in design teams, students have to build and test model JetToys using different nozzles, and collect and analyze data to understand the effect of nozzle size on the performance of the toys. They had to create other designs and test them, then give a formal presentation of their final JetToy designs. Their final presentations were on Monday, March 21st.
Our fourth graders are participating in the Skimmer Challenge. Students are introduced to a model Skimmer presented by the same fictitious toy company EarthToy Designs. Students needed to collect data and decide if they will have their skimmer go in a straight line, do turns, or go a great distance. However, to sort through all the design factors and create a design for a particular purpose, students had to acquire an understanding of how each factor affects performance. They tested the model with different sails to understand how sail characteristics affect the way it moves, created other designs and tested them, and then gave a formal presentation of their final skimmer designs Monday, March 21st.
New this year is 3rd Grade “Straw Rockets”. In the Straw Rockets challenge, students explore the early life of Dr. Robert Goddard while reading the biography, The Rocket Age Takes Off. After investigating Goddard’s early trial, students build, test, and modify rockets made from drinking straws. They test the rockets to see how far they can fly. Concepts covered in this unit include Newton’s Laws of Motion, Gravity, thrust, lift and drag.