For the past 3 years we have been partnering with the Wood Buffalo Regional Library to host the Ultimate READesign Challenge in various locations across Wood Buffalo including, Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Anzac and Fort Chipweyan. This year we came back to Fort McMurray once again as a part of the library’s Summer STEM Club program.
We were able to host a total of thirteen students, six girls and seven boys, aged 6-8 for this program. We started off by giving them a background on what engineering design is, and discussed the 5 steps; Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve. Then students split into teams to read a book, find a problem and design a solution!
Team: Up, Up, Down
This group of girls chose to read Up, Up, Down by Robert Munsch. The book is about a little girl who keeps trying to climb up things, but keeps falling down! The girls came up with the solution to build a ladder and some stairs. They used wooden skewers, sticky putty, tape and plastic cups to complete their design, and they did it all without any help from a volunteer!
Team: Anything is Possible
This team read the book Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni. This book is about two friends, a sheep and a wolf. The sheep wants to build a flying machine, but the wolf isn’t so sure it’s possible! The team decided to use k’nex to build their own machine, a space shuttle!
Team: Rosie Revere, Engineer
This group of girls read Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. This book is about a little girl name Rosie who loves to build and tinker. She makes tons of contraptions like a hot dog dispenser, helium pants and a cheese-copter! The girls decided to try and recreate their own version of a cheese-copter using popsicle sticks, ballons and other craft supplies. By adding in a littlebits motor they got their coptor blades to spin!
Team: How to Bicycle to the Moon
This pair of boys read the book How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers by Mordicai Gerstein. This book is about a boy who want to plant sunflowers on the moon so that it can look happy. He comes up with a bunch of steps of what he would need to do, from building a space suit, to a sling shot, to a tightrope from the earth to the moon! These boys decided to recreate the sling shot idea. They two wooden rods as the ends of their slingshot. Then they made slime using glue and borax and used that putty as the foundation for their rods to stand in! Then they attached rubber bands to complete their slingshot contraption!
Team: Ursa’s Light
This brother and sister duo read the book Ursa’s Light by Deborah Marcero. This is a bout a little bear that wants to fly! She looks at the birds flapping, the dandelions spinning and the bats gliding and wishes she could move through the air like them! This pair decided to try and make their own flying contraption. They tried a few different things, from balloons to catapults and finally a bat glider for their little sheep to sit on. They used littlebits and craft supplies to build their contraption and though the sheep didn’t fully fly, she sure did look cool on her glider!
Overall this program was a lot of fun and we were able to introduce young kids to engineering design concepts. One really great highlight was that one of the volunteers at this program was actually a participant in the 2012 Operation SMART Program seven years ago! She went from learning about STEM to teaching STEM, awesome!