Have you read any of the fractured fairy tales yet? They are fantastic flips on old stories. One of them inspired me to make this STEM activity. In the flipped story, Jack is actually the "bad guy" and the poor old giant really just wants to live in peace with his lovely wife and his valuables: his harmonious harp, talented goose, bag of gold, etc. But Jack keeps taking his prized possessions! So, the giant wants to fortify his castle. This presents a new problem. The cloud castle now weighs too much for the old beanstalk. He needs to design a new stalk that will hold up under the compressive weight. That's where the Mighty Beanstalk STEM idea was born.
In this activity, students will use what they know about three dimensional shapes to design a column that will support the weight of a stack of books. Students use technology to research and implement a paper column design, they apply the scientific design process to test and adjust their original designs, and in the end, choose a design that they think will hold the most amount of weight (in this case books!) This activity is based on the physical principles of strong structures found in architecture such as domes, columns and arches. I have used this activity at my school’s Science Fair and STEM night. Students also employ the engineering design process where they investigate, design, build, test, redesign, retest, discover, and reflect.
I have created everything you will need to implement this fun and engaging activity. Whether you want a design project for a culminating activity for your geometry unit or you need an easy yet fun activity for an upcoming Science/STEM Night, this activity pack has EVERYTHING you need. It is easy to implement, has minimal materials and minimal planning. Here's what you'll get:
* Engineering Design Posters including: Investigate, Design, Build, Test, Retest, Reflect, and Discover.
*Experimental Design Activity Sheets
*Table Top Tent Signs for: Materials, Testing Table, Designs, Data, and Experiment Sheets
*STEM Night/Science Night Tips
*Internet links for 3-D shape designs (in poster form)
I just know you and your students will have a blast creating a mighty beanstalk!