Thursday, April 18, 2013
Have you heard of STEM? It stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math. Earlier in the year I set aside an entire day to celebrate the field of engineering. The students rotated through stations. Each station highlighted a different field of engineering and had a lab to showcase the specific field. All of the labs were inquiry based with very little teacher intervention. Each one helped to build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. One of the labs was a the Windmill Challenge. Students had to make a windmill that would pull as many pennies as possible. They had different designs to choose from and had to figure out how to make it pull pennies. They had to work through the entire Engineer Design Process.
We carried the theme through lunch. Students made a solar oven and cooked their own hot dogs for lunch. This was not an inquiry activity. I walked them through the entire process. You can grab a copy of my solar oven design by clicking on the picture. You could easily turn this into an inquiry activity and also align it with the Next Generation Science Standards by letting the students design and test their own solar ovens. I'm thinking I might try it next year. This one was a super simple version and worked really well.