This September Teays Valley elementary students learned about catapults and the engineering design process which involves problem solving and building solutions through teamwork, designing, prototyping, testing, rebuilding, and continuing to improve and reevaluate their design solutions.
Students learned the basic catapult design concepts and components. They learned about force, accuracy, precision, and angels – and made engineering connections – engineers apply science, writing, and math concepts early into the design process and prototyping before they’re ready to build final products to meet their clients’ needs.
They also learned how force affects the motion of a projectile, the difference between accuracy and precision, as well as learned the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance, being at 45 degrees.https://wafflesonwednesday.com/accuracy-vs-precision/
Catapults may be an old technology, but engineers still apply many design concepts into modern applications that need to store potential energy to propel a payload. Examples such as clay pigeon shooting or more complex in aircraft catapult take off for short runways.
Our catapult project was a two-part challenge: 1) apply the engineering design process to building a catapult, and 2) use the catapults in a creative writing challenge. The students worked in groups moving through target stations.
They used their catapults to hit a dynamic target that gave them points, letters, words, and images. The students had to add up their points, look up new vocabulary with the acquired letters, add the words and phrases collected, and finally handwrite a group creative writing narrative that they read out loud to their peers.
*Pictures from Teays Valley Elementary Students registered for 2019-2020 STEM Club Program.
A Foldscope is the ultra-affordable, paper microscope. It was designed to be extremely portable, durable, and to give optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes (magnification of 140X and 2-micron resolution). The Foldscope brings hands-on microscopy to new places and is especially great for our young STEMist to learn and explore with.
Students learned the basic components of a microscope, built their origami microscopes (as a take home STEM project), and engaged in a hands-on biology investigation lab.
Image source: STEM Club Foldscope Presentation, go.osu.edu/foldscope
Students also engaged in a club discussion on different research methods used in science.
QUANTITATIVE DATAcollection which is in a numerical form which can be put into categories, or in rank order, or measured in units of measurement. This type of data can be used to construct graphs and tables of raw data.
QUALITATIVE DATA collection which is empirical, observations, surveys, or interviews. This type of data provides insights into the problem(s), helps to develop ideas, or hypothesis for potential quantitative research. Used to uncover trends and dive deeper into the problem.
The Foldscope is a learning product that can be self assembled and includes art through hands-on origami, photography, and drawing what is observed. Foldscope is used in classrooms in over 130 countries worldwide. You can skim through the presentation by visiting go.osu.edu/foldscope.
In STEM Club, we stress the importance of multidisciplinary learning and problem-solving by allowing students to engage in hands-on STEM challenges. Remember, it takes more than one subject to solve real-world problems. It’s also important to stress a lifelong learning mode where the body and mind are working together. A healthy active mind requires a healthy active body; the two systems work and support each other.
Day 1: PhysBot Wearable Tech and Fitness Challenges
Students learned about wearable technology and the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle by exploring the PhysBot Data Tracker which inspires healthy minds. The PhysBot technology was developed through an Ohio-based partnership between Ohio State University Extension 4-H, Big Kitty Labs, and Tiny Circuits. For a quick club overview visit: go.osu.edu/PhysBot.
Our young STEMist learned that physical fitness matters. Our body and brain need a mix of activity and mind challenges to stay healthy. Teens need at least 60-minutes of active every day, where adults can get away with 150 minutes/week! Wearable technology is growing and becoming a popularized accessory for all ages. It’s estimated that in 2019 almost 90-million people in the U.S. will be wearing some form of wearable technology.
The PhysBot breaks down wearable technology and allows students to see and understand all the working components. The students also learn how to calculate their resting heartbeat by hand. Then they put on their individual PhysBot to compare their heart’s beats per minute (BPM) through an LED pulse sensor. Finally, the students engage in different physical fitness challenges while monitoring their BPMs. Students can also download their data to a computer using free downloadable software to continue investigating their physical activity results.
“When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right.”
Day 2: International Strategic Board Game Challenges
Coming up with strategies and tactics to over challenges and problems requires a 21st Century Skillset. November’s STEM Club focused on discovering new ways in plotting winning strategies which, later on, will foster more strategic thinking skills that could help when applied to real-life scenarios. Practicing strategizing skills is important and STEM Club exposed students to international strategic board games they can continue playing and learning from. The more these types of games are played, the better students will be at coming up with winning strategies and making smart decisions for a lifetime. The games shared came from around the world: Chess (India), Five Field Kono (Korea), Backgammon (the Middle East), Fox and Geese (Northern Europe), and Mū Tōrere (New Zealand).
Why are strategy games so important?
Strategy games are great for learning life skills, such as patience, self-control, and thinking critically. These types of games teach emotional competence and help students learn to control their impulses; not to make a decision immediately, but rather wait for a better more effective opportunity.
Strategic games help students learn to evaluate other factors at play, realizing that their next decision may actually cause more problems for them or possibly lead to a strategic advantage. Strategy games also help set and maintain goals while many avenues of thought and decisions have to be sorted through. Students start thinking of the next move, but in reality, they are looking further ahead, thinking how their next movie will lead to the next challenge. It’s that skill of anticipating the counter move that leads to making smart decisions in the future. These games teach student to make decisions after identifying the alternatives available to them and anticipating the possible consequences. And that is the basis to critical thinking.
Stay tune for December’s STEM Club highlight. Students will be diving into biology and building their own microscopes to study a variety of plant and animal specimens!