What a week it was in EXCEL! This week, we explored the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, through STEM activities.
Before we started working, though, we warmed up our brains with a special kind of brain teaser ~ it had two parts! First we unscrambled all of the words related to fairy tales, and then we found them in the puzzle.
First we reviewed what we knew about the story that most of us had heard as smaller children. Then we watched a version of the fairy tale in the tradition of Eastern Europe. We found this to be quite different in many different ways. After discussing the differences and similarities, we watched the Chinese version of the story, Lon Po Po.
After watching this, we split up into teams and made a Venn diagram that compared the two versions of the story. The fifth graders used a three way Venn diagram to compare all three versions!
We used our technology ~ our devices for those who brought them, and my computers for those who didn’t ~ to learn more about wolves. Many of the students thought they knew much about wolves already, but found that they really didn’t! Many students also found out that research was harder than it looked. They found out that they had to read carefully and enter their search terms carefully.
The last activity was our engineering challenge. For the youngest, the task was to design a basket with a handle that would hold 50 unifix cubes for 120 steps. The only supplies they could use included two pieces of brown construction paper, scissors, tape, and a stapler.
The older students constructed a basket as well, but their basket had to travel on a zipline over the forest to get to grandmother’s house safely. First we tested them for distance, and when two of the baskets both traveled the same distance, we timed them.
Next week, we’ll wrap up our second semester with some special Christmas STEM activities!