Image Map

December 20, 2017

New Year's STEM: Exploring SOUND Energy!

Happy New Year everyone, even if it is a little early!  Or, you may be joining me for a look at this STEM based off a duplicate product found in my store!  Either way, be prepared for some FUN with STEM and Sound Energy! 

In this STEM you will find the following steps:  Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve.  I have also included a chance to Reflect on this STEM though a quote provided to inspire deeper thinking about this activity.  It is important to know that while STEMS come with a variety of step models, each of these models cover the same principles within STEM.  The key is that students apply the principals of creativity and engineering.  Students should be developing systems and ideas based on what they see as the best form of applying their personal skills and the concept presented to them in the challenge at hand.  That means you are as hands off as possible.  The only thing I really did in this STEM was to manage supplies, cut the duct tape (because it is REALLY sticky), mark the results, and vacuum after the clean-up (More on how to avoid this from my lesson learned to come!)  So, here we go!

First, students were able to apply their understanding of sound energy from their schema from our lessons in class and from the video suggested in the product found here.  This is the ASK stage!

In the product, you will find an open note taking page and a guided notes page.  With my third graders I use the guided page.  I also let them watch the video once through without taking any notes.  Then, I stopped it at spots so they could write down what they learned because she talks REALLY fast!  You could always swap out this video with another, as the Powerpoint allows you to embed any video you choose (directions are included).

Once my students worked through the ASK stage, they moved to Imagine.  This is where students had to think about the Criteria and Constraints involved in this activity.  In other words, what the could and could not do.  These are established to keep students within a boundary so that they are not getting off task and wasting time going down bunny trails or even socializing.  In this STEM, one of the Criteria is that they must have different designs for each team member's noisemakers.  This was key, as one team got off target because, during create, they decided they liked another noisemaker better.  They all wanted it and headed down that bunny trail.  I was able to redirect back to the criteria to get those students back on their PLAN!

Yes, that's the next step, PLAN!  In Imagine, students are simply brainstorming all of the possibilities that they have.  This PLANning stage allows them to square up the actual plan they have.  In this case, this is where students developed a specific system to make noise and decided on what supplies they needed.  I supplied them with beans, rice, cereal, duct tape (needed but STICKY), paper towel rolls, gift wrap rolls (A parent brought them in!), paper plates, jingle bells, fabric, embroidery hoops, cups, tongue depressors, staplers, regular tape, and glue.  Then I opened my classroom cabinets to them with the understanding that it couldn't be anything that I needed back from them!  Many of these things were already in my room.  I did utilize parents for some of the things that needed to be purchased (beans, rice, cereal, jingle bells).  I gave them a good amount of time to plan.  They did a very good job of planning and knew what they needed when we moved onto CREATE!

CREATE is the time that they will actually BUILD their noisemaker.  I provide a half hour for this step.  This seems to be a fair amount of time for all groups to be able to be ready, based on the STEMS that I have completed so far.  This did not include the time I used to pass out supplies.  I did this pre-CREATE.  I had student team members come to a table area and pick up supplies such as the rice, beans, and cereal.  This is where I didn't think!  Before they started CREATE,  I should have laid down large pieces of bulletin board paper.  We had a little bit of a mess from kids not knowing how to pour the materials.  I was able to show them how to make paper funnels after I discovered that pouring didn't work so well.  I would definitely suggest this for your classroom before you begin!  I haven't vacuumed in years, as we have wood floors at home and I sweep!  It was an experience for sure!  Anyways, students went fully into CREATE mode and were able to complete this step within the half hour provided!

STEM, Noisemakers, Student-Led Learning 

Now it was time to test their systems!  Included in the product is a fun slide in the Powerpoint just for this!  It includes a website specifically designed for detecting sound levels in the classroom with a fun graphic-Bouncy Balls!  I used this and set the bouncy balls on the lowest amount available.  Then I explained we would use the large bouncy balls, as these are the hardest to move!  I also explained to students that they were not to make ANY noise with their voices (unless they made a horn type of noisemaker) because 1.  they could be helping another team win or 2.  they would be getting a false read on their noisemakers.  Then I stood at the board and marked the three highest bouncy balls that each team achieved!  This is how we judged the assigned group winners!

What we did next was even more fun, and this is also where we got into some serious science application!  I allowed kids to group randomly and we tried it again!  And we got totally weird results.  Weird in the fact that we were able to see how variables affect an experiment.  When students were randomly grouped, meaning they were with similar equipment made by other students, our data flatlined!  They were not able to create sound higher than the original groups of differently designed noise makers.  More importantly, they got a hands-on experience with variables!  I love that we could apply that science term and skill in this very minute!  Real life application!

Next, we headed to IMPROVE!  Students were able to look at all the different noisemakers and discuss and plan for even better noisemakers.  Also included in this was an opportunity to reflect.  IMPROVE doesn't always have to be about the STEM.  It should also be about how they could be better as students-with each other and within creating and growing.  Right now I'm getting a lot of "we worked good as a team" instead of those deeper reflections as a cooperative group.  That is going to be one of my goals as we get more and more into learning about how we work together in STEM and how this connects to us working as a team in other areas of our classroom.

I'm totally excited to add STEM to my growing knowledge of the Student-Led Classroom.  I can honestly say, I can see this being key in the development of how students lead in a classroom setting.  If you'd like to learn more about Student-Led Classrooms, jump over to my general post called Just the Place to Start.   Are you interested in checking out my growing STEM products?  Check them out over at my store, The Best Days!

More importantly, thanks for stopping by.  I'm super excited you did and would love to hear any feedback you have about STEM or this idea, in general.  I'm still learning and would love ideas, suggestions, and even improvement ideas you may have!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a great STEM idea!!! How long did this process last? I only see my students for 45 minutes at a time. I'm thinking this would be a 2- 2 1/2 day process for me. Thanks for sharing your creativity!