This Week At STEAM: Week 7 Engineering Week Block 1 2017/18

This week the students became master builders! The activities today were a culmination of all the 4 C’s and Design Process learning that they have experienced over the past 7 weeks.

The day started with the Design Challenge.  This time the students had to create a structure that was built sideways from the wall.  The structure had to extend as far as possible.  The Challenge differed this week as the students were given a shorter time period to plan and build their design.  They had limited materials, and there really wasn’t much.  Frustrating!  After the Challenge completed, the Designs were scored based on how far they extended from the wall, extra points if they didn’t touch the floor, and on how well the groups thought they worked together.

After the challenge, we read the book Rosie Revere, Engineer.  In the book Rosie struggled with her inventions failing.  At the beginning of the STEAM block, I admit I did tell the students I wanted them to fail.  This shocked them a little bit.  I further clarified the statement today, saying that I wanted the students to fail, but recognize why their design didn’t work and how they could fix it.  In the book, the author talked about what it really meant to fail – to quit – and that is something we never do!

Following the book, we watched three videos.  The first was a music video from OK GO called “This To Shall Pass”.  The second was was “Rube Slowberg” from Bob Partington.  Finally, we watched a video about Audri’s Rube Goldberg Machine.  All the videos involved Rube Goldberg Machines.  A Rube Goldberg Machine is a complex “machine” that solves a simple task.  The students were tasked with creating their own Rube Goldberg Machine.  The machine had to include at least three of the Simple Machines – screw, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, wedge, and lever.  The machine also had to have at least three chain reactions.  The simple task involved getting a ping pong ball to go into the air in some fashion.  This drew upon last week’s Ping Pong ball launcher.  Interestingly, two groups had the idea to add their design in from that Challenge.  The students worked away at their designs for the remainder of the day.  They were constantly testing and refining their designs.  When the day drew to a close, some designs worked and some didn’t, but not one student quit! They showed grit and perseverance the entire day.

The students ended the day by completing their reflections and thinking about what they would work on for Personalized Learning day.

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