RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande Elementary students had the chance to practice their problem solving skills before judges in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fair.
Third through fifth grade students each spent their morning working through a given scenario with limited supplies and an objective.
“Students had to cross the chasm using limited supplies we gave them. It was all on their own, I gave them little help and guidance; their successes are their successes and their failures are their failures,” said Bethany Simmons, fourth grade math and science teacher. “We hope they learn to apply it to real life situations and teach them how to come up with a solution.”
Third grade students had to design and build a device that carried a passenger across the chasm using only wind. They had limited supplies such as pipe cleaners, paper clips, rubber bands, and fishing line. Students were given 90 minutes to work on their challenge and were allowed to test once finished.
Fourth grade students were tasked with creating a gliding bridge to move passengers and supplies across a two foot gap. They given sand, gravel, and clay to make a foundation and other basic office supplies in order to make a bridge that can be pulled across a wire. Students were given costs of various materials to use and had to maintain an attractive and cost effective design to their bridges.
Fifth graders were asked to build a shock absorbent lander to protect two aliens landing on earth. Given a small paper cup, marshmallows, index cards, straws, craft sticks, rubber bands, balloons, tape, and scissors, they had to drop the craft from increasing heights while keeping the aliens in the cup.
“We designed a zip-line to help get the ball across the (chasm), we designed it this way because we thought about building a bridge but then we thought the fan might not blow it across,” said Third Grader Nolan Mitchell. “It takes patience to make things the way they need to be made.”
Several local members of the community came out and judged the students’ work, including Brett Boothe, Gallia Engineer, Nick Tipple from Lightstone Generation (Gavin Plant), John Kay, Kyle Burnett, and Mark Simpson from Ohio Valley Electric Corp, Kyle Bays, Terry McKinniss, and Richard Bowman from Electrocraft were all on hand to judge the work of students and offer comments.
“I always ask kids what would you do differently? Tweaking a design is important in science and math,” said Tipple.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.