We love doing STEM challenges in our house. From building bird nests to designing flying machines, this process encourages kids to explore, experiment, invent and imagine. I enjoy watching my kids go through the process of trying, improving, and trying again. In this STEM challenge, we build boats for Moana, and even made some that floated!
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Setting Up Your STEM Challenge
When thinking about the setup of a STEM challenge, make it as open-ended as possible. Providing information yet little instruction is important. Asking questions about what kinds of materials float vs. sink, or reading books on the subject get kids thinking and wondering, providing them with the skill they need to experiment themselves.
For this Moana STEM challenge I set out:
- a tupperware with water
- craft sticks
- rubber bands
- pipe cleaners
- craft foam
- Moana toys
An Invitation to Create
By setting out materials, and giving little instruction, kids are able to think and create with their imagination and knowledge.
My kids got to work trying a number of boats. They folded craft foam like an envelope which flopped to the side, floating but getting Moana wet.
They tried flat craft foam boats that needed more stability to hold their characters.
They also tried adding flags like a pirate ship and sails like Moana’s boat. I loved that through their frustration of error, they were able to improve their efforts with each design.
Our best design ended up being some craft sticks taped together flat like a raft.
Not only was the raft functional, but it was also cute! And, I had some pretty proud kids in the end 🙂
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