During our virtual K-5 Summer Learning Academy this year, Mrs. Simpson challenged students with a STEM problem every week. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and the kids had to use those skills, as well as art and reading, to solve the challenges using materials found around the house.
The younger kids followed the life of Stan the Stuntman who needed help building ramps for skateboarding, pirate ships that were stable and could hold treasure, a bridge to save the Gingerbread Man and a catapult that could be used to launch marshmallows.
The older kids had a survival theme with challenges that would help me on a deserted island. The first week they built a model of a free standing shelter that would keep me cool, week two students made solar desalination plants, week three they built functioning solar ovens and the last week they made accurate catapults to either launch me off the island or to create a fun game to pass the time while I wait for rescue.
Every week the students would watch videos to introduce them to the problem, to hear read alouds of stories and to get science information and directions needed. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays there were video conferences to ask questions, learn more of the science and get hints for solutions. On Thursdays students would send in pictures and videos that we then showed off in the presentation meets.
Not only did Mrs. Simpson have a great time working on the challenges, but the participating students and parents got really into building, creating and learning as you can see in the pictures.