Posted: October 5, 2018
On Monday, October 1st Parkwood Heights Elementary School literally launched into their monthly STEM initiative with a demonstration of their award winning catapult from the APEGNB/ASDN Pumpkin Fling Catapult Competition.
Fresh off a second place finish at the annual contest the “Parkwood Launchers” presented their winnings of $500 to the student body, showed off their trophy, and launched a small gourde across the gym to demonstrate the power, precision, and accuracy of their catapult.
From there, students and staff made their way into the cafeteria where the K-2 students had setup bite size cardboard marble run games they created in their classrooms. These sophisticated games combined design thinking, engineering, problem solving, science skills, and art to create games that not only challenged students but also had the entire staff laughing and enjoying the play based learning activity.
Students in grades 3-5 had a similar challenge but on a larger scale. These life size marble runs had to be built within specific measurement parameters but students had free reign to create loop de loops, ramps, tunnels, and secret passage ways to add some extra challenges to their games.
In order to make this monthly activity a reality, a small group of teachers at Parkwood Elementary use their PLC time to collaborate, brainstorm STEM activities and connect these activities to the curriculum so the challenges and learning become embedded during class time.
This initiative by Parkwood Elementary is a wonderful example of play based STEM learning that is connected to the curriculum and allows students to hone and show off their individual talents and skills in a variety ways.