Over the past few months, STAR school middle schoolers have been learning about simple machines and engineering. They have undertaken numerous challenges; building Popsicle stick catapults, designing bridges, and engineering miniature Ferris wheels. Each project required the students to think critically, work as a team to accomplish a common goal, and troubleshoot to overcome unexpected obstacles. Additionally, the students have been learning how to balance creativity and function- following the printed directions to assemble a working stand for their Ferris wheel while also decorating said stand with bright markers and color coordinated rubber bands.
This balance was illustrated by the latest engineering challenge- to build the tallest skyscraper possible out of Legos. The only restrictions on the skyscraper designs was that they needed to stand on their own. The rest was left up to the imaginations of the students! The results were predictably creative and fun, with one “portable” skyscraper on wheels, another growing plastic Lego plants out of every story, and a third with a giant robotic arm sprouting from the top.
Although these designs may not be realistic for life-size skyscrapers, they were a great way for our middle school students to think about the challenges engineers face when building tall buildings and have fun while doing it. And who knows, maybe one of our students will be designing a new addition to the New York City skyline in 15 years and look back on this activity as the inspiration for their career.
Written by Regan Gee
A remorseful Goldilocks asks for the help Mountain School students after accidentally breaking baby bear’s chair. Mountain School’s helpful 2nd graders tapped into their engineering skills to provide the best chair they could for baby bear. Students were provided with minimal materials including index cards, paper, cardboard rolls, Popsicle sticks, tape, and their imaginations.
Students worked in teams exploring different ideas on how to build the best chair before beginning construction. Once students started constructing their chair, they put their heads together to delegate jobs and utilize all the skills that individual team members had to offer. Once construction was done they entered the final test: “How would baby bear like his new chair”? Baby bear tested the chair to see if he fit comfortably and the team met all of their goals. By the end of the day baby bear had many comfortable chairs to last him a lifetime thanks to Mountain School’s 2nd grade students!
Written by Crystal Routhe
The Killip Elementary Lunch with an Expert program continued on January 30th. The expert visiting was Colonel Ron Morris who served in the Army for 29 years. The Colonel brought along with him two JROTC students from Coconino High School.
This was the biggest Lunch with an Expert yet, with 67 fifth grade students attending. The students learned about what it takes to join the Army and the JROTC program at Coconino High School. Students were able to ask questions about Colonel Morris' experiences in the Army and learned that he was able to live in 23 different countries during his service.
Thank you to Colonel Morris for participating in the Lunch with an Expert program. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact email@example.com