Any time that GEM works with students, no matter their age, we try to inspire innovation, creativity, and problem-solving techniques. Our programs are inspired by the philosophy that STEM gives students the tools to advance research and discovery, provide and create new services to society, and amplify stewardship of the earth. This can start with students as young as kindergarteners! In one of the outdoor educational lessons that we did with Prescott students, we wanted to turn on their inventor brain in order to solve various engineering problems and build structures using random materials around the Community Nature Center (sticks, cardboard, rocks, wood, etc.) The students, age K-6, were split into groups of 4-5 and raced to complete the following tasks:
Finally, we encouraged students to experiment with their buildings by testing various structures on top of unstable ground. The students created bridges or buildings and worked to figure out how to make them steady. We then had a small competition to see which structure held the most weight and also could withstand an “earthquake.” This lesson was a great opportunity for students to “invent” their own designs and utilize creativity and physics to build the best structures!