April 4, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: S.T.E.M. Part Two

Last week I blogged about a S.T.E.M. activity that really sparked my students' motivation when I joined Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky...

This week I am once again going to write about S.T.E.M. (Science, Technoogy, Engineering, and Math) activities. They are probably the best hands-down, single motivating activity that I do with my sixers. Say "S.T.E.M" and they are all over it! They constantly beg to do S.T.E.M. activities. Why? They are fun and packed full of learning (but don't tell my kiddos that).

Last week the S.T.E.M. activity that we were involved with dealt with designing an aircraft that would transport aliens to their dream vacation. You can read more about it HERE. At the time of the blog post, we had only finished about three-fourths of the project. Basically we had time to design and build the aircraft, but we still needed to run the safety trials and the actual TEST, meaning did the students meet the challenge posed to them.

Listen in to this group as they make plans for their airplane. They had just researched how a plane flies. Notice the concentration, the problem-solving, and the scientific principles of flight they are incorporating. They didn't care about all that, they simply thought they were having a competition to see whose plane would fly the farthest!

And here you see photos of the TEST to see which aircraft was the best!
Because my sixers completed the Alien Aircraft S.T.E.M. activity so well and had so much fun while doing it, I decided to do another S.T.E.M. activity this past Thursday, the day before Easter break. I needed something that would totally engage my kiddos and keep them learning! This is what I chose...

Did it motivate my sixers to learn on the last day before break? Judge for yourselves.

There is no video to listen in on this activity; however, I can relate many of the topics that were discussed in the student design groups: simple machines (the lever), trajectory, force, Newton's Laws, mechanical engineering, gravity, fricton.... Whoop, whoop! They were using the concepts they had learned in Science class on their own! Score another one for S.T.E.M. activities!

Be sure to stop by Head Over Heels for Teaching for more Sparking Student Motivation posts. I always find great ideas during Joanne's lnky party.

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