Category Archives: Engineering

Apple Study

At the start of the year, I always feel like I am data mining.  I’m getting to know a new group of kids and I need to see their strengths, interests, and learning stamina.  Doing an exploration is always a good way to study a subject from many sides and let different learners shine. Yesterday […]

By Jenna Richter | September 15, 2016 | Arts, Engineering, Mathematics, Project Work Read More

Human Bridges-Bridge Project

What does it feel like to be a bridge?  What type of forces are at play? What else is required?  How can you know unless you feel it?  Discovery Lab students are offered opportunities to learn through every possible modality:  visual, auditory and kinesthetic.  We need to see it, hear it and feel it to […]

By Jenna Richter | May 25, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work Read More

Bridge Day 2-Building from Plans

Yesterday, we broke into two groups and I asked students to follow simple diagrams to create two different kinds of bridges from toothpicks and marshmallows.  In the past, students have worked independently on engineering challenges and worked from their own imaginations but today, I wanted to explore collaboration and following blue prints.  I first asked […]

By Jenna Richter | May 19, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work Read More

Bridge Project-Day One

We started a project to understand how bridges are made, different types of bridges, forces of compression and tension and the anatomy of a bridge.  Day one included discussing beam, arch and suspension bridges.  We also talked about what bridges the students will cross on Fridays field trip to Seattle including a floating bridge and […]

By Jenna Richter | May 18, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work Read More

Thorp Mill Field Trip

  On Friday, we took a walk to the Thorp Mill.  Discovery Lab had visited the grounds earlier this year but this time we got to take a tour from the amazing docent Mary. First, she explained that the mill was one giant machine.  She asked the kids what they knew about machines.  Their knowledge […]

By Jenna Richter | May 9, 2016 | Engineering, Science Read More

Kites-Lift, Drag and Gravity

When Spring brings wind to Thorp, it’s time to learn about kite building.  Monday brought a perfectly sunny and windy day so I set out various types of papers, plastics and foam as well as straws and strings.   Students set to work creating kites then tested them by running with them back in forth […]

By Jenna Richter | April 6, 2016 | Engineering, Science Read More

STEM Challenge Index Cards and Tape

This weeks Wednesday Engineering Challenge was to use twenty index cards and tape to make the tallest tower possible.  Students were not allowed to tape the structure to the table, it had to be free standing.     Finn started with a four sided base and worked up to loops and finally ended with a […]

By Jenna Richter | March 31, 2016 | Engineering Read More

STEM Toothpick Playdough Tower Challenge

This challenge gave each student one can of play dough and unlimited toothpicks.  Everyone worked seperately, though some ideas were contagious. Harlow started with a blueprint, always a good plan when working with limited materials.  His play dough fell over during his absence and dried out so he was out.       Finn worked […]

By Jenna Richter | March 15, 2016 | Engineering Read More

Egg Drop Challenge

After reading the book Queen of the Falls, we were inspired to design a container that, like Annie Edson Taylors barrel, could survive quite a fall. First we drew preliminary drawings and made a list of need materials.     When we had gathered enough containers, padding in the form of paper towels, wool, and tissue […]

By Jenna Richter | March 3, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work Read More

Tall Cup Stack Challenge

Working in teams, the students were presented with two challenges.  First they were to build a shelter that was big enough for them to fit inside Each group had 80 cups to work with. Next, the students worked to build their tower as tall as they could get it.   Then the teams combined using […]

By Jenna Richter | February 17, 2016 | Engineering, Project Work Read More