STEM Programs are one week programs in which a facilitator gives students teams a problem to solve. They use the "Enginering Design Process" to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve their solution to the problem. They also use 21st Century skills such as creativity, cooperating, collaborating, and communicating effectively to accomplish their goals.
The Zoom Toy Company needs the help of studnets who have been studying weather and/or forces to help design a prototype of a Wind Racer. It is a new toy they are developing that will skim along the floor when powered by the wind from a fan. They will test several variables to see how far they can get their prototype to travel.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has asked 3rd grade classes, who have been stuying the muscular and skeletal systems, to help design and build a mobility cart for dogs that have lost or never had the use of their back legs. The cart must be able to support the back legs, allow the dog to move freely and be easy to put on and take off. Student teams will use stuffed animals to make prototypes of their designs. They will also be asked to come up with a company name and a name for their mobility cart. They may also develop an advertisement for their cart.
Unfortunately, spinal damage leading to rear leg paralysis is not an uncommon problem in pets. The animal will be normal from the point of the spinal injury upward and paralyzed from the point of the injury downward. These animals are colloquially called downer animals and have specific management needs. Rarely is rear paralysis temporary and management requires commitment. It is not for everyone and it is important to understand what you are getting into; however, for the right owner and patient, management of the downer pet can be rewarding and the human/animal bond can continue.
Mobility carts are especially important for the paralyzed dog that is strong in the front legs. A dog with a strong upper body will be able to run and exercise in a cart, which is not only healthy but psychologically good as well. Carts are fitted according to specific measurements. The American Veterinary Medical Association has asked 3rd graders to develop carts for downer dogs. They will use stuffed animals to prototype their designs. They will also be asked to create a creative name for their carts to help market them.
The Zoom Toy Company wants fifth grade students who have been studying forces to help them design a new toy car they are developing called the Gravity Car. Student teams will design and build a car that is powered by gravity. They will test several variables to see which combinations work best to make the car travel the farthest.
A small science center has had a rash of thefts of valuable items. They are looking for help from 4th graders to design a prototype of an electrically activated safe to hold their valuables. Student teams will design and build a safe(using electrical circuits and switches) that will keep the bad guys out and that they can use a key to open. Teams will tke turns trying to break-in to each other's safes.