STEM Competition Has Students Talking

Fifty straws and fifty paper clips, ready, set, go!
Fifty straws and fifty paper clips, ready, set, go!
These students know exactly how it works by building a strong base.
These students know exactly how it works by building a strong base.
This young student is concentrating on her team’s next level.
This young student is concentrating on her team’s next level.
Ms. DeLorenzo checks out one of the teams as they construct their base.
Ms. DeLorenzo checks out one of the teams as they construct their base.
This team of students has the right idea, and is looking to make sure their structure can stand on its own.
This team of students has the right idea, and is looking to make sure their structure can stand on its own.
Team 5 instructors are ready to measure their students results, left to right:      Ms. DeLorenzo, Ms. DeSousa, Mr. Connolly, Dr Bullock, Ms. Anglisano, Ms. Zubkovs, and Ms. Rocco.
Team 5 instructors are ready to measure their students results, left to right: Ms. DeLorenzo, Ms. DeSousa, Mr. Connolly, Dr Bullock, Ms. Anglisano, Ms. Zubkovs, and Ms. Rocco.
The Team 5 winners with their awards celebrate a proud moment.
The Team 5 winners with their awards celebrate a proud moment.
 

Science classes at Silas Wood were all very busy before Thanksgiving as students worked with their classmates on an exciting STEM activity. Students were given the task of creating a freestanding structure using fifty straws and fifty paper clips. Students worked cooperatively in groups to build their structure so that it was not only freestanding but also as tall as they could make it.

Students used the scientific method to plan and problem solve. “To build our structure, we relied on geometric shapes, metric measurements, and angles,” said sixth grader Christopher Arthur. “We also used the scientific method to hypothesize how we should build our structure and if it would be strong enough to stand freely.  We followed the procedure to put our hypothesis into action.”

Students also applied their mathematical skills by using angles and measurements in their design. “In order to solve a problem, we worked together to plan and then construct our frame,” said Tyler Phelan, a Silas Wood student. “In doing so, we learned the importance of team work and communication to complete the task.” The students also acted as engineers when designing the framework for their structure. “We need to use a lot of geometry because you need to create the correct shape for a strong base to support the tower we want to build,” said Ian Stedjan. Students enjoyed racing against the clock to complete this task in the thirty minutes they were given.

The winning team in each of the competitions was awarded golden bears for their effort.