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Aug 10, 2017

Energy STEM Challenges!


Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The current unit I'm focusing on is ENERGY! After doing a little research, I came up with two great STEM projects that are simple enough to create in the classroom. Initially I originally thought these projects might be too simple for 4th-6th grade, but they are much more difficult to pull off than they appear!




STEM Activity #1: Marble Run Challenge - Kinetic & Potential Energy! 

Kinetic energy is the energy of an object that is moving. A skier has kinetic energy while skiing down a snowy hill. The energy stored inside an object by changing its position or location is called potential energy.  When the skier walks up the hill, he is storing energy. There are several different types of potential energy such as gravitation, elastic, nuclear, and chemical


Students are challenged to design a  marble run or roller coaster that showcases both kinetic and potential energy.
What type of potential energy is used in a marble run? Can a marble run have multiple points of potential energy? Students must figure out how that is possible. 


Here's the Challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must design a marble run that showcases both kinetic and potential energy at use. Students must be able to label which parts of their marble run shows the energy transfer. Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. They have two days to finalize their roller coaster/marble run. ***Check out the link at the end of the post for more information about the challenge. 



STEM Activity #2: Solar Oven Challenge - Solar Energy!

Photovoltaic solar power converts sunlight into electricity using a silicon based technology. In this method, solar panels are typically used to convert the sun’s rays into energy. This has the ability to power businesses and homes. This type of solar power is one of the most reliable forms of renewable energy. 

Solar thermal energy does not convert sunlight into electricity like photovoltaic technology. It stores heat from the sun that is later transformed into electricity 


So here's the Challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must a solar oven that captures sunlight and retains heat. The solar oven should be able to melt crayons within an hour.  Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. Students have one hour to finalize the design of their solar oven. (The time it takes to test their design does not count towards the one hour) The group that is able to melt the crayons the fastest wins the challenge!



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