Saturday, November 3, 2012

STEM Project and Seed Diagram

First Grade STEM Project

          This week we dedicated a lot of time to our 1st grade STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) project. We started last week, by planting pumpkin seeds, from our class pumpkin. Each student planted a pumpkin seed, and we will monitor their growth over the next several weeks. Prior to planting our seeds, we dissected a black bean seed. One of my awesome teammates created this great seed diagram (inspired by one she saw on First Grade Shenanigans). Here is how our diagrams turned out: 

          We also discussed and recorded what our black bean seeds looked like, and how they felt.

          This week, the students worked in small groups to construct (or engineer) watering cans from plastic recyclables we collected. Before sending them off to get started, we talked about what a watering can is used for and what it looks like. Then, I introduced the ‘rules’ they had to follow when constructing their watering cans:
1. It must have a handle.
2. It must have a spout.
3. It needs to be made using at least 3 objects.
4. It must hold at least 1 cup of water.

          After going over these guidelines, I introduced a planning sheet for the students to complete to show how they developed their watering can. I had a difficult time knowing exactly what to say as I gave directions to the kids. I was honest, and told them that this was a new project for me too. They seemed to understand, so I sent them off to begin working. We collected a TON of plastics over the past three weeks! I dumped everything out on the carpet and then called groups up one at a time. I let each student pick two items that looked interesting to take back to their tables to try and use as part of their watering cans.

          Rachel and I walked around and monitored the students as they brainstormed how to construct their cans. Once students agreed on an idea, Rachel and I did any necessary cutting; we also helped tape their work together. Here are their finished products:

          Yesterday we observed our seeds for the first time. Sadly, there wasn't much to observe, but it was still good practice! Each student took their cup to their seat. Then, we recorded our observations in our science journals. 

        We also tested our watering cans for the first time! They all worked- a few had some issues with leaking, so I said we would try and patch them up with duct tape on Monday! The kids LOVED seeing their inventions work, it was so cute!

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