STEM in Action with Grade 5

The 5th graders were recently introduced to the speed formula and given the opportunity to put theory into practice by testing the speeds of cars. Each group was given a stock "plunger car" and tested its speed. After they collected their first round of data, Mr. Dunham, Middle School Head and Science Teacher, challenged them to make parts for their car that would make it more aerodynamic. Traditionally, these parts have been made out of paper, but this year some of the boys wanted to design and print their parts using our 3D printers. So, Mr. Dunham allowed a group of 5th graders to go to Mr. Droke to pitch the idea of using the printer. After a discussion of what that would involve, the boys began to design their parts using Tinkercad, a browser-based 3D design platform. Once the boys finished, they came to Mr. Droke and worked with him to make sure that their objects were accurately and efficiently designed. The boys ended this experiment by attaching their objects to the cars and testing the speeds. Now, they will compare the speeds of the car without the attachment to the car with the attachment.
The most important and lasting aspect of this project is that the boys took ownership of the process of making. It was their idea to use the 3D printers and it was their extra work before and after school that created objects that were purposefully designed and used. Our hope at Browning is that all of our boys learn to use innovative technologies to extend their learning across the curriculum. They need to understand that 3D printing, and other technologies, aren't reserved for our Technology Lab, but that they can be used wherever the boys can meaningfully use them.

Check out more pictures here.