Ste. Genevieve R-II School District library aide Sarah Carlson has implemented a plan to launch a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activity with fourth and fifth grade students once a quarter. Mrs. Carlson typically has students work on a MakerSpace once a month when they visit the library. A MakerSpace is a hands-on activity that encourages students to design, experiment, invent and build. This year, she plans to make some of these activities specifically STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects, where students utilize skills in these areas to achieve a goal.
The latest STEM project Mrs. Carlson organized tasked students with building a boat that would from cardboard, straws, tape, stick glue, scissors and string. Each student in Mrs. Nicole Jenkin’s fourth grade class was given supplies in order to create a small “boat” that would be tested at the end of the class period to see if it would float. The goal was to create a design that would hold up to the test, no matter what type of “boat” the students decided to make. When their time was up and after the students tested their creations, the class debriefed by discussing which boats worked best, which physical attributes seemed to be more conducive to floating and what other materials could be used for the same project that might improve results.