Are you ready to tackle a STEM activity?
Do you need easy prep?
Easy directions? Something for teamwork?
I’ve got you covered with a really, really, really easy STEM task using only ONE supply.
I mean, how simple is this?
One sheet. One piece of paper. Yes, copy paper- in any color.
They can also use tape or staples.
The kids were told this:
“Make a paper chain with one sheet of paper. You may cut it and you may use tape or staples. Your goal is to make the longest chain you can.”
Here they are at work.
This type of chain was, by far, the most popular version.
But, some adventurous little engineers thought of something else.Take a look below:
I was asked by a few kids if the chain had to be loops or interlocking circles (yes, some of them used the word interlocking!). My answer to that question was a shrug.
Here are some finished chains.
The one above is precious. This was made by a group of third graders that did not know how to make an interlocking chain, but knew how it should look. So, they drew it on paper! Can you see the pencil marks? Then they cut it out and then cut the centers out. That was it- there was not enough paper left to add to it. But, y’all, what a great effort.
The ones above are just different views of some of the chains made. Our longest of all was 31 feet.
Now, what was the point of this?
Here’s where a genius teaching moment popped in my head- a Brain Pop!
As soon as we started to stretch the chains out on the floor to share I heard kids complaining that the “chains” that were just strips of paper were not real chains.
So, I said, “What is a chain?”
We pieced together all the responses and basically decided a chain is anything that is connected. A chain of events, a chain reaction, a chain necklace. But it does not have to be interlocking circles.
So, why did we immediately think the straight line chains were unfair? It’s all about our perception of the task. We each bring our own perspective or perception to each task and this is why we sometimes disagree, but by listening to one another we can work out the best possible way to complete a task.
It was a DELIGHTFUL discussion and I had a student say this, “But, Mrs. Davis, isn’t that what life is?” Wow!
Yes, life is about not letting your perceptions, perspectives, or prejudices be your only way to make a decision!
I decided this was a perfect way to start our year in the STEM Lab! One material, a little bit of tape, great fun, and the ultimate in teamwork! How long will your chains be?