What is STEM? SVVSD defines STEM as integration of all subjects, problem solving, 21st century skills, personalized learning and connections in and beyond their local lives. TRMS teachers teach STEM by carefully planning out Integrated STEM Plans, ISPs, for the school year.
The last ISP we finished in 6th grade science this year was a space challenge. The standards the students need to succeed at are:
1. Construct a scale model of the solar system and use it to explain the motion of objects in the system such as planets, Sun, Moons, asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets (3.3.a)8
2. Use computer data sets and simulations to explore objects in the solar system (3.3.e)8
3. Describe methods and equipment used to explore the solar system and beyond (3.3.c)8.
To be able to challenge the students, I created a guided inquiry challenge. I told each student that they are now considered Aerospace Engineers and they have an extraordinary task at hand. Each team had to be able to sketch a scale model of the solar system and highlight facts about their assigned planet. Their team challenge was to safely land an eggstronaut on another team’s planet. They had many things to take into consideration when they designed their contraption, such as, the planet composition and gravity. The following link is the design challenge I created for the students to follow throughout the project: https://docs.google.com/a/svvsd.org/document/d/1B48C8LcRLkUNjQf_QJfQqdY1n8JslhDje-ASoB68aIk/edit?usp=sharing
The students had to do research during the empathy and define stages to be able to move on to their ideation step. Once they completed their brainstorming phase, then they were able to prototype. As the students prototyped they received feedback and tested their model along the way. We had a final day that we released their space shuttles from catwalk of the cafeteria. Students were completely engaged and most of their ‘eggtronauts’ survived!! After the challenge was done the students had time to reflect and make plans for a redesign. The main questions that was posed to them was, “Now that you have dropped your contraption, what are some improvements that your team could make?”