WES Students Learn Geometric Shapes Through STEM

3 children posing with their project.Although spring is still just around the corner on the calendar, geodesic domes have sprung up all over third grade classrooms at Watauga Elementary Schools! WES third graders are continuing to explore and learn through STEM activities. Most recently, students were challenged to use toothpicks and gumdrops to erect geometric domes.

The domes were constructed to cover a fictional city on a placemat map and to  protect the city from acid rain pollution of habitats. The design plan combined the strongest geometric shapes, circles and triangles, in such a way that no internal support system was needed. Once construction was complete, students were challenged to use rulers to draw a grid system for calculating both perimeter and area of the dome. Additionally, students were required to compute cost analysis of struts (toothpicks) and braces (gumdrops). This hands on lesson challenged the students' reading skills as they were required to read and follow multiple steps outlined in the directions. Included map skills reviewed social studies concepts. Science was addressed through pollution and habitats. Geometry, measurement, and computation concepts assured that mathematical thinking was a necessity. Students were very engaged and excited by this lesson, and they quickly learned that critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork were a MUST to be successful.​

Contact Person: 
Robin P. Herndon