Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Straw Design Challenge


River students had fun tackling another design and engineering challenge using 20 straws and 2 feet of tape. The challenge was to make an aesthetically-pleasing, free-standing structure. We discussed the different stages of the design process: ASK, IMAGINE, PLAN, CREATE, IMPROVE. We also talked about working within certain constraints. This included time, materials, and the type of structure they were expected to build.

Children worked in teams of three and were encouraged to cooperate, learn from other groups, learn from each other, and take turns in implementing their ideas. The design took place over two sessions, each ending with the children sharing information first about their design plans and subsequently about their creations.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Building and Planting


Design and engineering students have fun navigating the Marshmallow Challenge, created by Peter Skillman. The challenge was to make a free-standing tower which would support one large marshmallow, using a limited supply of spaghetti, tape, and mini marshmallows. Initially, students worked in teams to brainstorm, plan, design, create, and modify their structures. Students then tried the challenge individually.  We base our design thinking process on the Engineering is Elementary model developed by the Museum of Science, Boston. 

We also had fun planting lettuce in groups. First, we raked and pulled out any weeds. Then we dug holes and carefully planted our seedlings. We then watered our garden square. We're looking forward to having a salad bar in a few weeks' time.