Classroom Coasters, Mazes and More!


Chris Herald

By Chris Herald
NSTA STEM Teacher Ambassador 2017

I always love when Spring arrives because we start physics topics in my eighth grade physical science class!  Don’t get me wrong—my first love is chemistry and I have a Master’s degree to prove it—but there’s just something about physics in the Spring.  My students delve into the topics of speed and momentum with great gusto.  Two highlights?  Rolling marbles down a ruler and designing their own Hot Wheels experiment.  Not only are these students exploring some key physics topics, they are ALSO getting a chance to dabble in engineering:  a great combination!

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What Does It Take to Be an Engineer?


What Does It Take to Be an Engineer? - Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

This is one of my favorite team-building, icebreaker activities.  It’s also a great way to introduce your students to engineering!  It can be done with students at many different grade levels.  At the beginning of class, I start by welcoming my students to the staff of [Insert-the-name-of-your-school-here] Engineering Company.

I split the class into small groups and tell them: your team has been tasked with constructing the tallest free-standing tower you can build with the materials provided.  I give each team a bag containing 20 pipe cleaners and I let them dive right in.  It doesn’t take long for the teams to figure out that they need a strong base to hold the flimsy pipe cleaners.

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Lots of Bots


Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.by Ted Beyer

Bots in a Name?

Brushbots, bristlebots, scooterbots, and any other cleverly named bots have been around for years.  You know—the toothbrush head (or something similar) paired with a tiny vibrating motor and a battery.  For years, classroom teachers and homeschool parents have been using them to introduce even young students to the principles of engineering and robotics.

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