The Science School Yard: Amusement Parks and Engineering Fun

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Amusement Parks and Engineering Fun

Finding ways to add STEM into your classroom lessons can be as simple as an end of the year field trip or a smartboard webcam experience. Here is a video link for some Amusement Park Web Cams and ariel views video...


Last week, our fifth graders went to Bay Beach Amusement Park. What a great way to learn about science and have fun in the process. When they are at the amusement park we give them a mini scavenger hunt to look for rides that use simple machines. The Zippin Pippen uses wheels and axles, pulley systems and an inclined plane...
As they continue on their rides they look at the slide...as a simple ride it is an inclined plane: both in the stairs up and the ride down.
When our students get back...we have them review the simple machines used to power the rides. We list the rides that were their favorites: Ferris Wheel, Bumper Cars, Scrambler, Tilt-O Whirl, Sea Dragon, Scat...and we discuss the scientific process it takes for an engineer to build a safe ride. Finally...they get to sign up to design and build their favorite ride as a team.

Stipulations:
1. You must use the scientific process
  • Question: How will you create a Amusement Park Prototype
  • Research: Which supplies will work out best to create your ride?
  • Predict: Predict what will make your ride work safely.
  • Experiment: Experiment and build your prototype.
  • Conclude: Did it work? What modifications did you have to make? What problems did you face? Did you problem solve and work as a team? Use reflection sheet to help the process.
  • Report: Share and report out how your ride works. 
We set out at our STEM store simple materials:
  • toilet and paper towel tubes
  • pipe cleaners
  • cardboard pieces
  • tape
  • string
  • trays 
  • egg cartons
  • scissors
  • materials that students ask for as they build
Here are some of their rides...

As you can see...making connections to background knowledge let's kids really shine. Going to an amusement park or any other field trip and then making connections lets our students use STEM in a way that makes it real.

Stay tuned for a new STEM pack coming this summer to a TPT store near you...
This activity was a great way to end the year with our simple machines in mind. If you are interested in my amusement park scavenger hunt freebie add a comment to the bottom and your email and I will send you a freebie!

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