STEM Cup Tower Challenge

The Cup Tower Building STEM Challenge was the one that forced the kids to think deeper on why did that not work?  How can we improve this?  Some of them used their background experiences to help them make changes.  It was definitely the noisiest challenge so far, but it also challenged them more than any other on using teamwork and communication!

They had only 20 minutes to get the tower up and keep it up before I measured the height of each one.  It was the “keeping it up” that was the most challenging.  Their little hands just couldn’t resist adding one more cup, which in turn would make it all fall and they would have to start all over again!  With less time!  Lots of problem solving going on here.

Of course, we have to have a little crazy fun!  After the first round, we wadded up paper and on the count of 3 knocked down our own towers!

STEM Challenge Fun

“What’s the challenge today, Mrs. Visser?  Why can’t we do it right now?” is what I hear first thing in the morning.

The goals of the last few weeks of school are to enjoy each other and continue learning amidst the crazy end of year feelings.  We are definitely doing that and more by doing STEM Challenges each day.  I have found that when we spend our days researching, designing, building, testing, and improving things that interest us we are doing more than just having fun.  We are learning how to collaborate with others, communicate, use critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Much of what is needed on a daily basis in this global-technology-centered world.

The Lego Boat Challenge was fun to observe because the kids worked together so well!  They would test the boat and look for ways to improve the boat so that it would float.  Not to mention, it tied very nicely into the theme of our little world with all this rain!

Using YouTube Kids to see lego design to help us plan. Creating our own designs.

It was really cute when I asked a student if they had planned out their design to hear, “Actually, we are building it as we design and making changes as we go.”  Isn’t that what we do sometimes?  

The time to test has come!  The winning boat was small, solid, and rectangular without any extra decorative items.