S.T.E.M. Train at Watauga Elementary School

Four students display their pachyderm platform.The S.T.E.M. train is rolling in fifth grade at Watauga Elementary School.  S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  The program was designed to develop creative and critical problem-solvers.  

Throughout the program, students will develop skills such as controlling variables, inferring, predicting, communicating, working as a team member, and applying prior knowledge. 

This week’s S.T.E.M. activity, “Problems with Pachyderms,” allowed students to investigate the principles of compression and tension as they relate to engineering structures such as bridges, towers, and playground equipment. Their challenge was to “design and build a platform that was able to support large compressive forces and movement forward and backward (tension) across the platform.” The platform had to be 5” tall and 3” x 3”.  The platform had to hold the weight of one elephant (brick) for one minute, while tapping on the top and sides gently.  Materials were limited to six index cards, one sheet of paper, two rubber bands, clear tape, 12” of string, scissors, ruler, and a brick. Teams received bonus points for not using all of the materials provided, thus saving their company money!

Contact Person: 
Michelle Cunningham