Engineering Challenge with a Deck of Cards

Engineering Challenge with a Deck of Cards

Here it is at the end of July and my summer vacation is almost over.  I report for meetings August 8, butin fact, if truth be told, I am already slightly bending in that direction as I witness the "Back to School" displays starting to appear in the stores. How about you?  Are you feeling it, too?

This summer I was able to do all kinds of fun things from blueberry and black berry picking, a trip to Florida, refurbishing some furniture, regular working out at the gym and pool,  and yes, all kinds of garage sale shopping.   And then, what I am very happy to share with you, I and my daughter worked on redesigning my blog!  Those of you who have been to my blog before should definitely notice the difference.  I hope you will enjoy the new format and find it easy to use and helpful.  Square Space, my new host, was most helpful in transferring over the data from the former site.

With this new format pretty much up and running, I am re-inspired to share my classroom and ideas at more frequent intervals.  It's always good to set new challenges for oneself, isn't it? 

Today I will share with you an activity I did during the last week of school last year to help with some of the restlessness the students were feeling and keep them actively involved in Science.  I plan on using this same idea during the first week of school this fall to help with getting the students connected and giving me a chance to feel them out as to what kind of Science class groupings I should put together.  The project- an engineering challenge with a deck of cards.

Students were divided into teams of 4 and each team was given a deck of new playing cards and one empty pill bottle.  They were given the directions to build as tall a tower as they could that would support the bill bottle.  They could use nothing other than the cards and the bottle.  The team with the tallest tower that would remain standing for judging, would be the winner.

Students were also asked to stay with their groups and not walk around the room.  Privacy boards were provided for them to conceal their work.  I wasn't sure about the amount of time I wanted to give them as I didn't have an idea of how long it would take them to come up with and implement a plan.  I gave them 45 minutes.  It took them all of that, and some groups would have liked more. 

When the 45 minutes were up, the entire class went around to all the groups and we measured the heights with a yard stick.  This is a great STEM project and certainly can be modified in many ways!  Anxious to expand on it this year with my new incoming class of 6th graders.

Valentine Hearts that Sparkle

Valentine Hearts that Sparkle

Mural of Color and Excitement!

Mural of Color and Excitement!