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Grade 6 STEM exercise tests scientific principles and engineering design


It seemed pretty simple: build a boat designed to float. That was the task assigned to Grade 6 students in February as they tackled the STEM challenge. To prepare for the Build-a-Boat challenge, students conducted several mini-lab activities to test the concepts and make sense of the properties of water, i.e. buoyancy, adhesion, cohesion, surface tension, and displacement. 

Students quickly learned that there were many elements that played a role in the construction of the boat and different skills utilized to achieve the goal. First, the boat needed to be cost effective - fictional prices were set but they couldn't use an absurd number of materials. Second, the boat needed to float and support a mass greater than it's cost to get a low score. Students utilized math skills to calculate the density of their boats and placed metal washers on board to test buoyancy. The least expensive boat that held the most weight = winner!

After the challenge, students connected the concepts from the properties of water to the activity i.e. where did buoyancy come into action, where did they experience adhesion and cohesion, and what happened with the surface tension.

Congratulations to the winning teams per class:

1st place: Blue = Michael, Sam, and Eddie

2nd place: Pink = Ollie and Jack

3rd place: Orange = Jackson, Niko, and Eric 

4th place: Red = Saoirse, Sienna, and Lucia 

The focus of Grade 6 Science is for students to experience and question the unknown. They are encouraged and challenged to conceptually connect concepts through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Learn more about the Middle School at King.