Yesterday, we kicked off the Engineering 101 after school class. Nine boys (4th and 5th graders) worked collaboratively on an open ended engineering challenge.
Groups of boys stood at folding tables propped up on one side. They were given a hi bounce ball and, using an iPad, they timed how long it took for the ball to roll down the slope when released at the high side. On average, this took 1.5 seconds. The boys were challenged to choose a number and turn their table and ball into a consistent timer for that number of seconds.
Using a bevy of low tech arts and crafts materials, boys worked through numerous iterations of building, testing, observing, collecting data, and revising their solutions. Embedded were discussions about controlling variables (Do you release the ball from the same spot each time?) teamwork, managing frustration/learning from mistakes, gravity, elasticity, potential and kinetic energy, friction, to name a few! Boys beamed, high fived, occasionally argued, and even hugged!
Facilitating were our Technology Director for Curriculum and an educator from the Museum of Natural History, who is a grad student in technology design.
This year Saint David's has increased its STEAM programs, both in the academic curriculum and through its after school offerings.