STEM Project

During a Fall Celebration Project at CHSD170's Roosevelt School, fifth-grade students recently participated in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) exercise that applied volume and lesson skills learned during Math class.

Teacher Louisa Flamini explained the project, saying, "Driven by best practices as well as current theory regarding the discipline of science assisting students to become math masters, the classes set out to test this hypothesis using a project format."

"We also believed that exercises of this type using more hands-on activities and manipulatives would, as multiple sources have shown, help to better bridge the pandemic gap affecting many students," she continued.

The project began with students pondering the project question, "Is it possible to design a platform to hold the weight of the pumpkin that would not collapse using the materials given?"

Pupils then constructed platforms of index cards able to support the weight of a pumpkin. The learners practiced forming a house of cards and layering as many levels as possible using playing cards distributed equally to each group.

Using New York City's "New Year's Big Apple Drop" from atop a skyscraper as a correlative "real world" example, the students began to form "story levels" using the index cards. During the exercise, the students hypothesized that a smaller platform at the center top level would maintain the pumpkin's weight.

"One group also measured the weight of the pumpkins using our classroom scale to compute the weight distribution better, and the other groups followed its lead," Flamini noted.

"Our fifth graders are an amazing group of learners, and it truly was inspiring to observe the student teams use their skills and knowledge in lesson projects to find solutions and use critical thinking skills," she concluded.