Recently, SWITCH (Salmon Public Library’s STEM programming) visited the Pioneer Elementary School 5th Grade class in their year commitment to a Power of Hour of STEM every day during their last hour.
Before the Holiday break we had students working on their boat designs in Tinkercad, a 3-dimensional designing software on the computer. Each team was to come up with a boat design that would be seaworthy, carrying the predefined boat paddle as power.
Tuesday was race day. You could certainly sense the anticipation and excitement in the air. For a lot of these students, most have never competed in an Engineering challenge, so this was something special. Some nervous, others excited, all ENGAGED. We hauled a large kiddie pool into the pioneer elementary gym to which we had the support of the 3rd graders to cheer us on. The race took place over a series of heats, which took the best of two runs for each team. The boat captains would wind their paddle up no more than 5 turns, set the boat in the water, and release. The three winners would compete in a best of three final race for the Baker Cup, 3D printed Stainless steel trophy!
The final race can be seen here:
Finally, we regrouped and talked about the process. It was most students’ first time utilizing 3D design and printing and all learned VALUABLE lessons about the process. What they would change? Why did things happen? And how to work and support ALL designs, not just their own. It was fantastic to see real-world principles applied to the classroom in this exciting event. We’re looking forward to following up with them later in the year about a re-iteration process.