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A Winning Combo- Cups and Math!

by Stem_ED

Can we just add two things together that kids really like – maybe… stacking cups and math?

You bet we can! And the result is amazing. If you give a group of students a stack of cups they are going to immediately take them apart and start building pyramids. #right So, why not add some math to the task and practice solving problems, too!

STEM Challenge Cup Stacking- here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students stack cups and use data collected to find the mean, median, mode, and range.

Cups and Math, Really?

I know you are wondering how on earth putting some cups out is going to end up with math activities, just take a look at all we can do!

  • It’s fun, first of all. Since it appears to be a game and a competition, it is very engaging.
  • The math includes finding the mean, median, range, and mode of the data collected.
  • It includes class data charts that result in the math problems.
  • Did I mention that it is fun?
Here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students stack cups and use data collected to find the mean, median, mode, and range.

Cups and Math Exploration

We always begin with just a free-stacking time. Students can build any shape and height until they run out of cups. I give them about 5 minutes. THen we get busy.

TIP: Use plastic or paper cups. Foam cups can have static and the cups will move and crash when that static effect happens.

TIP: Set up some rules- My biggest rule is that when I hit the light switch student must stop building!

Here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students stack cups and use data collected to find the mean, median, mode, and range. Students arrange cups in many configurations.

Math Task 1

The first assignment is to build the tallest tower possible using as many cards as possible in a certain amount of time.

When the timer dings students count their cups in the tower and report it to the class data keeper.

Every team then completes the lab sheet by calculating the mean, median, mode, and range of the class data.

TIP: Make sure students know how to perform these functions before beginning. I review mean (averaging) and show students how to calculate the others. I have an anchor chart that reminds them what to do for each calculation.

Here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students arrange cups in many configurations.

Different Shapes

For our beginning task almost all groups will make a traditional pyramid with a long straight line of cups.

However, one of the later tasks asks students to make the bottom row into a differnt shape.

Notice the circular shape of the one in the photo!

Here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students arrange cups in many configurations. Stacking pyramids and stacking to beat the clock!

More Cups and Math

A couple of the tasks have students counting the cups for their data tables.

But, two of the tasks ask them to build s tower and measure its height.

We calculate the same mean, median, range, and mode with those measurements.

I told you this was all about math skills!

Here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students arrange cups in many configurations. Stacking pyramids and stacking to beat the clock!

Data Tables

This resource has the student data tables already made for them. (You can see one of the sheets peeking out in this photo.)

For our class data table, I just project one of these pages onto our whiteboard and students fill in their info with a dry erase marker.

FINAL TIP: We use calculators for this activity. That is optional for your students, of course! I do it because our class time is lifted and it just takes longer for students to add and divide.

So, I know you are wondering how this is a design project! Remember, do you those towers I mentioned that students build using different shapes?Those shapes are a lot harder than you would think. The base is the easiest part but the next layers are very tricky. The base must be built well in order to support more rows. Also, students are always competing in this challenge and building fancy, wonky shapes inevitably ends in a tremendous crash.

Try this challenge if your kids love competing and you love adding some math to your cup stacking!

More math related projects can be found in these blog posts:

STEM Challenge Cup Stacking- here is a perfect way to practice some math skills. Students stack cups and use data collected to find the mean, median, mode, and range.

The post A Winning Combo- Cups and Math! appeared first on Teachers are Terrific.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

by Stem_ED

Only a few seconds…in an instant…lives can change forever. One moment your family is traveling a mountain road, laughing and talking, headed to a restaurant for a meal with friends.

A deer appears on the snowy road and the driver veers to avoid it. The van swerves, hits the guardrail, and hangs precipitously for a second, then crashes over the side.

Inside the van is Finn, a 16-year old, her brother Oz, a 13-year old with special needs, and Finn’s best friend, Mo. Also, in the van are an older sister, Chloe, and her boyfriend, Vance, Jack and Ann Miller (the parents) and the dog, Bingo, is with them, too.

Ann’s best friend is with them, Karen, and her husband, Bob, and their daughter, Natalie. And, on the way to the restaurant the van stopped to pick up a young man stranded with a broken down car, Kyle. A total of 10 people and the dog.

When the van tumbles off the roadside, twisting and bouncing, there are many injuries, and one person does not survive. Finn Miller is killed instantly and continues to narrate this powerful story.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn- the story of a tragedy that happened to a family traveling with friends and how all their lives changed in an instant. Review on this post!

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that with your purchase of items Amazon will pass on small percentages to me. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!

As the van comes to rest at the bottom of the mountain-side road the families take stock of the injuries and their dangerous dilemma. Finn is dead, Jack is badly injured, Bob has a broken ankle, and the others have scrapes and small injuries, none life-threatening (except Jack). Their biggest problem now is the snowstorm that is quickly enveloping the van and the road. Being found is not going to happen in the weather conditions. Also, there is no reception for cell phones.

The immediate concern is to stay warm which seems impossible since most of the group was not wearing winter gear. They were, after all, just going out to eat. Most of them do not have gloves or winter boots. Speaking of gloves, one person did have warm winter gloves. Oz is wearing his purple gloves and this will later become important.

Someone has the presence of mind to go outside the van and pack snow to cover the broken windows to keep everyone cocooned inside. It doesn’t take long for Chloe and Vance to volunteer to hike out to get help.

Hiking for Help

Chloe and Vance discover quickly that the blinding snowstorm covers even their tracks in an instant. Their journey to find help is perilous and they do not return to the van before nightfall.

By the next morning it is obvious that Jack will not survive if help does not arrive soon. Do others try to hike out to get help? What are they eating, do they have water? How are they staying warm?

Everything this group does will determine the fate of each of them. Those decisions made in an instant have devastating consequences.

Let me remind you that the narrator of the entire book is Finn. Finn, who was killed in the accident. It may seem to be a little bit of a stretch that Finn is able to flit in and out of every scene, but it is written in a plausible way. Finn’s emotions about seeing her family and her friend in pain are real and will bring tears to your eyes often.

I listened to this book (from Audible) and would recommend that to you as well. The narrator of the audiobook was really good. I felt like she was Finn.

In the end, after the trauma of the accident, and the mountain rescue, and all the recovery of the ones hurt the worst, the story becomes that of survival. It is surviving the guilt and learning which of the van’s occupants were the real heroes and which were self-serving.

But, really, if you were a mom or dad in a car full of people, who would you save? The largest portion of the book deals with that question. There are also several back-stories about each character that are woven throughout. I enjoyed this book. I am giving this one 4 stars. There is a part of the book that I thought was a little too far-fetched and you will know what it is when you get there.

You might enjoy these book reviews, too:

My rating system: 5 stars means perfection- the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn- the story of a tragedy that happened to a family traveling with friends and how all their lives changed in an instant. Review on this post!

The post In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn appeared first on Teachers are Terrific.

Cardboard Tube Projects for STEM

by Stem_ED

I know you use cardboard tubes for STEM projects and I have some ideas for challenges you can try. But, first, why is a cardboard tube so great?

  • Tubes are flexible. They bend easily and can be used as a springboard.
  • Tubes are easy to cut or make holes in.
  • Tubes are lightweight and come in many heights.
  • Tubes can be reused. I have boxes of gently used or cut tubes and we use them over and over!
  • Cardboard tubes are FREE! Yes, I know we have to buy the tissue or paper towels, but we use those items and throw away the tube. SAVE THEM!
  • Better yet, ask parents to save them for you. You will soon have hundreds of tubes!
Cardboard Tube Projects- the amazing cardboard roll is a versatile material for STEM Challenges. Check this post for activities to do with elementary students.

Cardboard Tube Projects

When I started looking for cardboard tube projects to mention for this post I literally found about 20. Don’t worry I am sharing only 6 – but these are the really good ones! (Well, all of our projects are good ones, but these are the ones students beg to do again and again.)

  • Water Slides
  • Wind Cars
  • Elevators
  • Robots
  • Animal Adaptations
  • Marble Runs
Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a water slide and test it with water. The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Water Slides

Without a doubt this is the challenge my third graders love the most. They create a water slide using that tube as the slide part.

The dilemma for them is to protect the slide since cardboard is paper and water is not good with it. They must choose a material that will waterproof the slide.

We test these by pouring water down the slide and we watch Lego man zip down!

Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a rolling car that is powered by the wind. The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Wind Cars

This challenge is really a lot more challenging than you would think! It has so many parts- the car body, the axle and wheels, and the sail.

The dilemma is getting the wheels to roll well enough for the sail to catch the wind and make the car move.

Most teams go through several iterations of the sail before they find the best position and size.

Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a cranking roller that lifts a weight- it's an elevator! The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Elevators

The task is to build a cranking platform that will lift a heavy object from the floor to the tabletop. We use this challenge in October and lift tiny pumpkins. You can also use this in April and lift plastic eggs.

The dilemma is the cranking system. Students must have a crank with a handle to help turn the device so the string winds up correctly. They must also build the platform for the weighted object.

Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a model of a robot that has a functional and realistic purpose. The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Robots

Another favorite of my third graders. They love making robots! the tube is the body of the robot and we use scrap paper and gently used craft items to decorate the robot.

The dilemma is to create a realistic purpose for the robot and decorate it appropriately. This one is a doggy poop scooper- you might be able to see a round brown pom-pom that is the ‘poop’! It is decorated like a garbage can.

Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a model of an animal and show its adaptation. The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Animal Adaptations

A favorite of fourth graders! The task is to build an animal model and make sure its adaptation is showing – so we can identify it.

The dilemma is creating a model that has a visible adaptation. The animal is the photo is a tiger that is showing its ability to camouflage itself into the background.

Fourth graders have built turtles, hedgehogs, penguins, and lizards. So fun and a great way to culminate a study of adaptations.

Cardboard Tube Challenge- Build a roller coaster using tubes to transport a marble- it's a marble run! The main material is the flexible and versatile empty toilet tissue roll.

Marble Runs

Fifth graders love this one- it’s basically a cardboard tube roller coaster. Tubes are used for everything!

The dilemma is making turns with the tubes, but we know how to create a flange to make the tube curve.

The best part of this challenge is sharing the finished models and cheering when marbles make it all the way to the bottom.

Here is one more tip for cardboard tube projects: Ask a large store (like Home Depot) to save the industrial tubes for you. The tubes for those giant rolls of tissue in restrooms are smaller, heavyweight cardboard. We use those in projects in many ways. They cannot be cut or have a hole made in them, but we find ways to use them!

The most versatile of materials is the amazing Cardboard tube! Click on the images to see more details!

You might also enjoy these blog posts:

Cardboard Tube Projects- the amazing cardboard roll is a versatile material for STEM Challenges. Check this post for activities to do with elementary students.

The post Cardboard Tube Projects for STEM appeared first on Teachers are Terrific.