On March 23, Fairforest Elementary's fifth graders wowed us all with a very different kind of STEM Night! Our students completely took over the planning of their annual music program, combining musical performances, dance, visual arts, research, and Genius Hour projects with their study of the 1920s. The result was an AMAZING evening full of entertainment and learning!
The night opened with an on-stage production. Students sang several songs from the 1920s, but also added dance numbers, instrumental performances, a live "recording" of a radio broadcast, a visit from Georgia O'Keefe, a fashion show, and a solo by Louis Armstrong. All features of the program--including dance choreography, printed programs, Power Point background, musical compositions, and trash bag flapper dresses--were kid-designed and created.
Following the performance in the auditorium, the audience moved into the Roaring 20s museum, which included a stunning display of student projects and a silent movie theater (complete with popcorn and drinks!). Students shared their expertise and creations with parents, teachers, and community members. The exhibits were unbelievable: student-built movie projectors, a model of Al Capone's armored car (designed to protect an egg), a prohibition-inspired chewing gum-smuggling device, a fingerprinting demonstration, radio show podcasts, and a host of impressive high-tech presentations. The cafeteria-turned-museum was packed, and our fifth graders spoke enthusiastically, as true experts, to their visitors.
Students had also spent time in art class creating a variety of pieces to illustrate different aspects of 1920s culture. Our guests were able to enjoy this art gallery in the main hallway as they entered and left the event.
The Science Fair is coming on February 10, and our students are excited to get to work on their projects! As a STEM school, we've talked with our students and families about bringing students' unique interests and creativity into the Scientific Method...and how some of those really cool science "magic" tricks can be transformed into some really sophisticated experiments! If you're still on the hunt for an activity that inspires you, check out these links to get started!
Additionally, you may download our example Data Table to use during your experiments. Feel free to change the information to fit YOUR experiment! Click HERE for the data table. If you want to create a graph to represent your data, click HERE for a great website!
Remember, your experiment must include a testable question that will produce measurable data! If you have any questions about your science project, your teachers are here to help!
The STEM lab at Fairforest Elementary has been abuzz with busy students, holiday music, and some really impressive engineering projects this week! After the fun and success of last year's Goldilocks Challenge, Mrs. Register and Mrs. Blackwelder decided that we needed an exciting project for Pajama Day once again. Just like last year, it was impossible to fit every class into the lab on a single day...so we've celebrated the whole WEEK of Pajama Day with some exciting reading and STEM challenges!
Students in 4K, kindergarten, and first grade worked with LEGO Build to Express sets to represent their favorite Christmas/wintertime songs. Students worked collaboratively to select their favorite songs, analyze the lyrics, focus on a significant part of the song, and plan and build a LEGO sculpture to represent it. Our younger students had a great time, worked really hard, and created some fantastic pieces! Check them out:
Children in grades 2-5 faced a very different challenge. These students worked in small groups to select a favorite song, determine the most significat part, and create an original animation to illustrate it. Student animators used Goldie Blox and the Movie Machine kits to create a zoetrope and their own unique artwork to represent their songs. We were all AMAZED at some of their final projects! Take a look at some of our engineers and artists, hard at work...and see two of the final animations below:
The enthusiasm and intense focus that our young engineers and artists demonstrated this week were extremely impressive. It's amazing what our kids can accomplish when they put their minds to it. We are so proud of our Fairforest students, and we can't wait to see what they'll come up with in the new year!
Our first STEM Night of the 2016-2017 school year was a huge success! Thanks to our partnership with Michelin, our STEM lab has added a TON of new building supplies, including some really exciting LEGO sets! Thursday night, we put a few of them to use with a variety of building challenges.
One of the great things about STEM is that there can be many different ways to solve a problem or answer a question. There's no right or wrong way to create something...and when you find that your idea isn't working as well as you'd like, there's always another option to explore. LEGOs are a great tool for exploration and design. Not only are they fun, but they can give us great practice in problem-solving, creative thinking, and perseverance. Our students and families had a great time learning, building, and sharing their ideas!
We started our evening with The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires. This is a FANTASTIC book that got us started thinking about the challenges of the design process...and made us excited to build our own magnificent things!
When we were ready to build, we had 5 different options:
Block and Cover: A game of strategy!
Build a Better See-Saw: Build a prototype and improve its design!
Habitats: Build an animal and show where it lives!
Towers: Whose structure is tallest? Which one can stay standing the longest?
Simple Machines: How do the gears work? How can we use this device?
Of course, no STEM Night would be complete without a tasty snack! Check out the LEGO-inspired treats we made:
Thanks to all our students, families, and staff who made this STEM Night a fun and successful one! And a special thanks to Mrs. Cheri Parker for the great photos! Get excited...there's more STEM fun to come this year!
Drippy Popsicle? No problem for our engineering teams!
On April 21, FES students and parents met in the cafeteria for an exciting (and tasty!) challenge. On a warm spring day, how do you keep your frozen treats from turning into a melted mess? Inspired by THIS story and THIS video, our families worked together to plan a device to catch the drips, chose materials to engineer their prototypes, and tested them out by eating and observing the results. Check out the videos below to see our messes and successes!