ST 1.2

ST 1.2 - Students work independently and collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment that encourages finding creative solutions to authentic and complex problems.

How's Our Structure? Structure
In the Fall, our students missed school due to Hurricane Irma. Living in a coastal region, this is a reality for our communities and understanding how to protect our homes is relative to all of our students. During a STEM Saturday, sixth grade students used their knowledge of climate and weather and personal experiences with storm factors to design and build a house that would withstand the effects of simulated thunderstorms, floods, and hurricanes.  Students worked in pairs or teams collaborating to develop a blueprint for their house. They were tasked to identify supplies that would best withstand the testing conditions of the simulation. Teams then constructed their designs into 3D models. These models were then tested by simulating rain and flooding with buckets of water and hurricane force winds using a leaf blower. The structures that withstood the tests then were examined further by all students to discuss why these particular structures “survived”.  Students were asked to reflect on their own team’s design and then communicate which improvements they thought could make their structure more sustainable.

Ankle/Foot Orthosis

Design and Modeling students were challenged to create Ankle/Foot Orthosis devices for patients with cerebral palsy. After viewing a video about Cerebral Palsy which informed the students about a device, the students began to discuss the purpose of the AFO device and determined how it improved the life of a patient with cerebral palsy.  Each student started their task by drawing a design of their AFO. The students were then placed into collaborative groups of four where they determined their final design. The groups had a variety of materials available to them and as a group they decided which materials they would use to build their device. As a team, students used the materials to build the prototype of their AFO device, testing their product, then modified and adjusted their prototypes until the group was satisfied with their final product. The students were asked to demonstrate that their device met all the requirements of the AFO and had to explain their prototype to the class.


Industrial Revolution City PlannersCity Planning
As part of the unit on the Industrial Revolution, students took on the role of a City Planner. They were given a set of statistics related to the needs of a population during the Industrial Revolution and were asked to design a city from this time in history.  In collaborative groups, students used the information to calculate the number of different types of homes, businesses, other buildings, includiCity Planningng the infrastructure that would be needed to house, employ, and service the population. The students next graphed or mapped out their city, inserting the buildings and infrastructure. The groups worked and reworked their designs until the population of their city had their required resources. A map key and scale was created to understand the size of the city at large.

Ice Cold! Ice House
The first unit of study in 6th grade is energy, and one focus is thermal energy. Thermal energy includes the understanding of  insulators, conductors and radiant barriers. The students worked in collaborative pairs to design a house that would keep an ice cube inside the house from melting when under a radiant light.  The students had to defend their reasoning for their material choices. After a 20 minute test, students measured the amount of melted water produced from their ice cube and evaluated their design. Then students explained the improvements that would be made.

Ice Cold

Is it Economical? 
In the Fall, seventh grade students worked collaboratively to plan a Thanksgiving meal using unit/rate economics. The students worked in diverse groups and took on the role of Thanksgiving hosts with a given budget. They were challenged to calculate and determine the most economical cost for their meal.. The students utilized local grocery websites to plan their meal and find the most economical prices for each of the items. The students used mathematical skills such as unit rate and proportions to find the “best buy” for each of their food items. Once the project was completed, the students presented their menus and final costs to their class.


Mustang Maker Innovation Zone
The Mustang Maker Innovation Zone was developed out of the need for students to have a place to let their creativity thrive and evolve.  Students utilize the space during PATH time, or as needed for group or individual classroom assignments. We just added a 3D printer to our space and we are looking forward to adding a LEGO wall over the summer.  Our overarching goal is for a space where students can make mistakes, tinker, invent, explore and develop not only literacy skills but STEM literacies as well.