Fifth Graders Build-a-Bunch of Amazing Creations

By Intermediate and Middle School STEAM and Coding teacher Adam Colestock
This past Monday during Morning Ex, the Kupcinet Gallery was lined with devices that were spinning, sliding, whirling, flashing, detecting and making noises as 5th graders capped off their programming and engineering unit at their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Expo.

Each device was a unique creation that contained at least one sensor and one motor and was programmed to respond to input from the environment. The 5th graders had conceived of and developed their individual projects over the course of STEAM Week prior to the February Recess. During that week, they spent all of science class and some additional time outside of class building, programming and troubleshooting their designs.

These were capstone projects for their engineering and programming unit. During the unit, students were introduced to the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 invention system and explored building and programming techniques to provide them with the basic skills and knowledge they would need to make their STEAM Week projects. Students were exposed to ideas from structural engineering as they made sure their builds moved only where intended and were rigid everywhere else. Mechanical engineering principles were introduced as they explored several different kinds of mechanisms and saw how gears could transmit motion across distances. They also learned about the four types of sensors included in the invention system and how to write programs that used loops and conditionals to have the device respond to something detected in the environment around it with actions.

Throughout the engineering design process, the students had to constantly problem-solve as they iterated on their designs by building, testing, observing and revising over and over again.

Enjoy these photos from some of the students’ work to put the finishing touches on their projects and the STEAM Expo itself.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.