In honor of Massachusetts STEM week at Marblehead Charter, the 5th graders were paired with their 8th grade mentors for an engineering challenge. In groups of 7 – 9, the students were each given a box of materials and asked to design and build a device that can launch a marshmallow as far as possible. Students were encouraged to pick from a number of devices that would accomplish the mission including a trebuchet or a catapult. The specific activity was chosen as it ties into the current 5th grade Humanities unit on the Middle Ages.
Students enjoyed a workshop about keeping water clean and water conservation. Parent volunteers helped the Salem Sound Coastwatch team teach six different stations with topics such as watersheds and “where does the dirty water go”. This event kicked off the 5th grade Community Service Learning project.
In science students will design a Rube Goldberg machine that will perform a task of their own choosing. Their machine will be comprised of at least 5 simple machines, one from each type: inclined plane, lever, screw, wheel and axle, wedge, pulley, and will be required to fit inside a cardboard box. Students will outline the engineering design process, describe each of the simple machines and brainstorm several designs to achieve their goal. They will further develop their design, draw a detailed diagram with each of the simple machines labelled, and will list the materials they planned to use. As they build their machines they will keep a daily journal outlining their successes and challenges. Finally, students will reflect on how well their machines meet their purpose, challenges they faced throughout the design and build process, and how their machines could be improved.