Earlier this fall we experienced multiple hurricanes in and around the United States. As a teacher in Indiana, my students are not very familiar with hurricanes. I wanted a fun and hands on approach to teach my students what hurricanes are and bring to life the events that were happening in the world around them.
Out of these events hurricane STEM came to life. With the help of our high school buddies my third graders worked in small groups to design and build hurricane proof houses. Here are our results:
Step 1: The Set Up
Each group was given some Play-Doh, construction paper, a tin tray, popsicle sticks, and tape. They could only use the materials that they were given to create their hurricane proof house. The hurricane consisted of a fan that I attached blue streamers to for effect.
Step 2: Planning
Before beginning the project the students watched a couple YouTube videos and read an article about hurricanes to build their background knowledge. Next, they sketched out a design for their hurricane proof house.
Step 3: Construction
After carefully planning out their designs the students built their houses. When construction was complete each design was tested by pouring water in the pan to simulate the flooding caused by hurricanes. Then the building was placed in front of a fan to simulate the strong winds.
My students had a blast completing this activity, but more importantly they walked away with a greater understanding of the events going on in their world.
To learn more about this activity click on any of the photos. For more ways to engage students in STEM all year long check out A Year of STEM!