Our spring STEM challenge: build a catapult out of a box of miscellaneous materials with no directions, limited time, and three or four fantastic thinking partners. Oh, and throw in real mousetraps. Sound crazy? Perhaps. But real and authentic application of the principles we studied in our earlier force and motion unit? Absolutely!
After a serious safety lesson and tips about how to disable and safely handle a mousetrap, 5th and 6th grade students in PARADE were given two and a half hours to design, test, and refine a catapult that will be judged on distance, height, and accuracy. We closely examined diagrams of others ideas, debated the parameters of how we would judge our competition, and laid out the same ground rules for all teams. No one even noticed when recess came and went, with many choosing to work on through. So little time, so many design changes to make.
Next week – our competition begins – with PEEPS!
Want to come and watch?