Friday, February 24, 2017

Cardboard, Duct Tape and Creativity


Well Hello, it has been too long since the last time I blogged.  I have just had such mixed feelings about blogging and I just did not have any topics that spoke to me.  Then last month my fourth and fifth graders completed their January STEM challenge.  I do one STEM challenge every month in my fourth and fifth grade science classes. We were going to create a cardboard arcade inspired by Caine's Arcade.  Here is the Youtube video for Caine's Arcade.


What an amazing imagination this child has.  It reminded me of the hours of fun my sister and I would have when my parents would buy a household appliance and we were given the large cardboard box to play with.  There was no such thing as video games, cable or the internet when I grew up, we played outside and used our imaginations.  Yep I am that old!  LOL We spent hours imagining that box as a rocket, house and roller coaster.  We spent the first few days just coloring and decorating our box.  We had a blast with what are imaginations could create out of that cardboard box and stayed out of Mom and Dad's hair for hours.  I wanted to share that magic with my fourth and fifth graders.

I had heard of Caine's Arcade on a tour of STEM certified schools my school toured in Reynoldsburg, Ohio in preparation for my own school's STEM certification process.  So I went home Googled the above video and thought the kids would love this STEM challenge.

The first step I took was to show the kids the video and get them excited and boy did they get excited.  Then we filled out the challenge packet I purchased through TpT by TeachFreak.  Here is the link if you would like to purchase the same packet.  You can see part of the packet in the picture below.

 I first had them brainstorm and sketch out  their idea for an arcade game idea from front, back and both sides views.  Then all the supplies started to pour in.  I told them nothing could be store bought and they could not give out prizes.  Then they we partnered up and had to merge their two ideas and create a material list.

Then they started building using recycled cardboard boxes and other supplies they found around their homes.  Just a side note make sure families rinse out or don't send in any containers with food still in them.  We had a very stinky plastic milk jug and a can of beans.  Ewww gross.
Then the big day came for them to be able to play each other's games.  One partner manned the game while the other played, then they switched.  We even invited our principal and other school staff to come and play.  They did not want to stop.
This game was an Alien Hunter.  The player had to pull back the rubber band and shoot the paper balls into cups that were worth points for catching the alien in that cup.
This Fortune Telling machine was one of my favorites.  The player said a question and then an answer was pushed out the slot on the left.   Super cute and a big hit.
They were not always pretty but the collaboration, creativity and problem solving that went on in that classroom could not be replaced with a textbook.  The engagement I saw in every student made my heart swell with pride.  These were my kids and they are awesome!  Do you do STEM challenges at your school?  How often and which ones are your favorite?  I would love to hear.

T.G.I.F.
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