STEM and informational writing go hand in hand in this fun, hands-on learning project! 🙂
I’m piloting the Lucy Calkins writing program for my grade level, and I have mixed feelings about it (but that’s a different post). Right now we’re working on informational writing. Basically, they do an experiment and create a lab report. It’s been a lot of fun, actually. I was a little wary of it, but my kids are LOVING it. BUT this week was the most fun and engaging experiment yet.
They made catapults and then asked the question “What goes further, a ping pong ball or a cotton ball?”
First, they made their catapults. I provided them with a variety of tools and students had to work in small groups to figure out how to create their catapult. It was very interesting to see them develop their own designs.
I LOVED the teamwork. 🙂
Then, they got into their groups and wrote down their procedures for how they created their catapult. This was a true STEM activity because students were left to solve the problem on their own. Outcomes weren’t predetermined. They had to figure out how to create a working catapult using trial and error.
Then, they started their STEM experiments. They were testing to see which objects would fly the furthest in their catapult. Students were given meter sticks to measure.
They were SO into it. Listening to their conversations was awesome. “Make sure you line it up!” “Okay, go measure it. Make sure you’re exact!” It was great!
They did a great job with this experiment. After we conducted our experiments and they did such a great job writing down their results and discussing their findings, I told them I had a surprise for them at the end of the day.
When they came back from their special, this is what they saw. 😉
They each got a turn to try to hit the target. They had a blast, and I’m pretty sure they all went home and made catapults this weekend.
These are the experiences that our kids will remember. They won’t remember their standardized tests, but they will remember those great, hands on learning experiences. 🙂
This experiment helped prepare their thinking for our informational writing project. Click here to read more about that and download the free informational writing template!
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