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So, what have we been doing?
It’s all about towers!
We love to build towers! Sometimes the towers have a purpose or certain constraints. Other times the tower just follows the Engineering Design Process without specific rules. The tower is dictated by the materials!
The absolute NUMBER ONE question students ask when I announce we are building a tower is this one, “Does the tower have to support weight?” OR “Do we have something that has to be at the top?”
HA! They have learned that I do sometimes add weight and that changes everything with building a tower!
Here’s our all time favorite tower:
THE GREAT SPAGHETTI TOWER
Those spindly strands of spaghetti have to be able to support something!
Here are two more we tried lately that had to support weight:
This one had some weird supplies and had to hold a tennis ball (that is a racquet ball which weighed the same and I was out of tennis balls!)
This one is made of newspaper and had to support….are you ready for this?
ANYWAY… this brings me to what we have been doing more recently.
I had this Brain Pop and came up ….
….Towers of Dozens!
The challenge was to use a dozen of something and build a tower. No weight was added!
One dozen inches of foil.
Do you know how flimsy foil is?
It’s all about the support system for this supply.
The next Dozen:
One dozen index cards!
How many different ways can you roll, cut, and fold an index card?
Finally, the last Dozen:
One dozen straws!
At some point while we were working on these towers I began to worry that there was no real purpose.
Then I remembered this:
1. EVERY STEM challenge presents us with collaboration opportunities and the growth we see in how to get along with others and work together is phenomenal!
2. EVERY STEM challenge uses the Engineering Design Process and the kids are learning so much about data recording, planning, sketching, and combining their ideas.
3. EVERY STEM challenge creates a chance to use mistakes to make something work better. Who doesn’t want to do that?
4. It’s about the process. It’s about collaboration. It’s about group dynamics. It’s about learning from errors. But mostly, it’s about the celebration of success.