5th grade

Paper Airplanes: Real-Life Algorithms

ESTIMATED COST:

$0.08

PER STUDENT

 Photo cred: ScienceBuddies.org

Photo cred: ScienceBuddies.org

Required materials:

paper, scissors, glue

Code.org Description:

This lesson calls out ways we use algorithms in our daily lives, specifically making paper airplanes. This lesson also focuses on the bigger picture of computer science and how algorithms play an essential part.

NGSS alignment:

2. Developing and using models 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Graph Paper Programming

ESTIMATED COST:

$0.08

PER STUDENT

 Photo cred: ScienceBuddies.org

Photo cred: ScienceBuddies.org

Required materials:

paper, markers, glue

Code.org Description:

This lesson calls out ways we use algorithms in our daily lives, specifically making paper airplanes. This lesson also focuses on the bigger picture of computer science and how algorithms play an essential part.

NGSS alignment:

2. Developing and using models 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Muscle Models

ESTIMATED COST:

$0.07

PER STUDENT

 Photo cred: Krieger Science

Photo cred: Krieger Science

Required materials:

rubber bands, craft sticks, straws, metal brads, ruler, metal paper clip

Description:

Humans have 600+ muscles but only a set number of muscle fiber at birth. These fibers can increase in strength and size with exercise. In these lessons, students can learn the cellular mechanisms that lead to muscle growth as well as create and test models of muscle fiberss. 

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models  3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Keep Calm and Just Breathe

Required materials:

plastic soft drink bottle, straw, rubber band, scissors, balloons, clay

Description:

Breathing ensures oxygen is transported to cells so they can function while removing carbon dioxide, a byproduct of this process. This lesson involves constructing a model lung to show how the complex process of breathing keeps us all alive.

Tips:

Materials don't necessarily have to be purchased new for this activity. Household or classroom items that you already have can be used and reused for this activity, saving you even more money!

NGSS alignment:

2. Developing and using models 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Low-tech Comp Sci: Robot Friends

ESTIMATED COST:

$0.04

PER STUDENT

 Photo cred: Tinkersmith

Photo cred: Tinkersmith

Required materials:

paper, markers, cups

Description:

This computer science lesson is a great low-tech introduction to coding. My Robotic Friends teaches students the connection between symbols and actions, as well as the valuable skill of debugging. Using a predefined “Robot Vocabulary,” students will figure out how to guide one another to accomplish specific tasks without discussing them first.

Tips:

The lesson plan has great adjustments for lower elementary, upper elementary and grades 7+.

NGSS alignment:

2. Developing and using models 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Folding for Outer Space

ESTIMATED COST:

$0.16

PER STUDENT

 Photo cred: NASA

Photo cred: NASA

Recommended materials:

aluminum foil, tape, small cardboard boxes

Description:

In this lesson, participants will explore how scientists and engineers incorporate folding and unfolding into many fascinating applications and technologies like telescopes and solar panels to study our galaxy and beyond. 

Tips:

Many craft, household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can possibly be reused. The recommended materials listed above have already been tested as a part of this lesson. Students should be given access to as many or as few materials as you can afford. Allow students to be creative. I've done this activity with only foil, tape and one small reused gift box! After finishing the activity, reuse the gift boxes to get the most "folds" for your money!

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating informatio

BubbleSci

Recommended materials:

different types of soap (dish soap, hand soap, bubble bath, etc.), glycerin or corn syrup, items to make bubble wands (pipe cleaners, straws, etc.), measuring tools (cups, spoons, droppers, etc.), stopwatch (or smartphone app), distilled water, containers like cups or empty bubble solution bottles for students to test and keep their solutions.

Description:

Blowing bubbles may seem like a simple or childish pastime. However, blowing a bubble is packed with STEM concepts from physics to geometry to art (with that STEM becomes STEAM!). The lessons provided above allow teachers to take this activity in many directions to suit their instructional needs. For an engineering route, set up design challenges for the bubble wand and the solution. For a math route, study shapes, ratios or volume calculations. For a physics or chemistry route, experiment with air speed, solutions, surface tension and more.

Tips:

If glycerin is difficult to find, corn syrup can be used instead.  Also, your local dollar store may carry small bubble containers with wands as party or wedding favors, which make great containers to store students' final solutions.

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 2. Developing and using models  3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

2 Lessons, 1 Tiny Concept: Intro to Nano

ESTIMATED COST PER STUDENT: 

Lesson 1 = $0.10

Lesson 2 = $0.04

 Photo cred: TED-Ed

Photo cred: TED-Ed

Required materials:

Lesson 1: scissors, pencil, crayon, eraser, pencil sharpener, index card, chalk, calculator, a doorknob (within classroom), roll of tape

Lesson 2: clear cups, antacid tablets, water

Description:

Lesson 1 focuses on how to measure at the nano scale and provides students with an understanding of how small a nanometer really is. Students learn about electron microscopes, participate in hands-on activities to measure common classroom objects in the metric scale, and then convert the result to nanometers.

Lesson 2 focuses on how materials behave differently as their surface area increases. Students will learn about nanotechnology and how engineers can harness the differences in how materials behave when small to solutions for challenges in many industries. 

Tips:

Many craft, household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can be reused multiple times. One class can use one of each item if students can exchange or trade them between groups as they work through their data collection from measuring the length (or diameter for the tape).

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models  3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

A SUPER Strong STEM Activity: Super Cuffs by @TechbridgeGirls

Required materials:

straws, tape, scissors, cylindrical container (like a soup can or jar), heavy items (like books)

Description:

In this activity, you will take on the role of a structural engineer. Structural engineers use shapes to add strength and stability to buildings roads, and a variety of products. Your mission is to create a powerful wrist cuff by using a repeating pattern of shapes. The cuffs have to be strong enough to support the weight of a stack of books.

Tips:

Any cylindrical object that measures larger than most wrists can be used instead of a soup can. For example, the inside of the roll of tape can be used to shape the cuffs.

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models  3. Planning and carrying out investigations 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

Sink, Float, Hover Challenge

Required materials:

small containers with lids (film canisters work best), variety of small, heavy objects (coins, washers, marbles, etc.), variety of small, lightweight objects (corks, beads, Styrofoam, etc.), rubber bands (optional to keep lid on canisters or modify distribution of mass), and large containers of water

Description:

Students will learn about density, buoyancy, and how submarines dive. Students will design and create a vessel that is able to sink, hover, and float.

Tips:

Many craft, household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can possibly be reused. Items listed here have already been tested with students as a part of this lesson. Students should be given access to as many or as few materials as you can afford. This allows students to be more creative. 

NGSS alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models 3. Planning and carrying out investigations  4. Analyzing and interpreting data   6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Adaptive Design Challenge

Suggested materials:

craft materials, i.e. masking (or scotch tape), string, chenille stems (pipe cleaners), markers, toothpicks, fastener strip (Velcro), construction paper

Description:

According to TryEngineering.org, engineers have developed products that help those with physical challenges lead more comfortable and independent lives.  As shown in the videos below, adaptive designs not only help those in need, adaptive designs help everyone and make life better for all!

Tips:

Many craft, household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can possibly be reused. Items listed here have already been tested with students as a part of this lesson. Students should be given access to as many or as few materials as you can afford. Allow students to be creative. I've done this activity with only toothpicks, markers and construction paper!

NGSS Alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  2. Developing and using models  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

The Marshmallow Challenge

ESTIMATED COST = 

$0.07

per student

 Photo cred: MarshmallowChallenge.com

Photo cred: MarshmallowChallenge.com

Required materials:

spaghetti, string, marshmallow, masking tape, paper lunch bag (optional)

Description:

The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity. The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. (http://marshmallowchallenge.com/)

NGSS Alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

Tech in a Bag

Estimated cost:

$0.08

per student

 Photo cred: Dollar Tree

Photo cred: Dollar Tree

Required materials:

household or classroom items, i.e. plastic snack bags, sticky notes, toothpaste, pair of scissors, markers, pencils, etc. within a paper lunch bag

Description:

Many students believe that technology only refers to things powered by electricity. In this lesson, each group of students gets a “mystery bag” containing an example of technology. When students open their bags, they may be surprised to see that they contain everyday objects like sponges, slippers, or bubblegum! (eie.org)

Tips:

Nothing necessarily needs to be bought for this lesson except possibly the paper bags. Many household or classroom items that you already have will work for this activity and can be reused multiple times. Items listed here have already been tested with students as a part of this lesson. My favorite items to use come from the kitchen: Cyclone by Quirky, a spork, gloves, recipe cards, etc.

NGSS Alignment:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information