Hands-on STEM projects make learning fun at GCIS

Fourth graders Brent Dennhardt (left) and Kyle Miller learn about aerodynamics and resistance as they design a “puff mobile”

It was almost too much fun to call it “school” when Maker Space was at the Intermediate School April 12-13.

Maker Space gave students an opportunity for hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at stations that included building catapults, wind-powered vehicles, musical instruments and more. They practiced skills like problem solving, collaboration, creativity and team work as they worked through the steps of design, test, and re-design.

Lynne Campbell, who works for ISU Extension and Prairie Lakes AEA, shows Braden Turner a salt crystal through a microscope. Braden was surprised to learn salt crystals are square rather than round.

Maker Space extended lessons for the older students. Sixth graders had already used Tinkercad to create a 3-D model of a cell. During Maker Space, the students used virtual reality to further examine their cells.

Maker Space was a collaborative effort of Prairie Lakes AEA, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Greene County teachers. Julie Graber, technology consultant for Prairie Lakes, explained the goal was to help teachers gain confidence in bringing inquiry-based hands-on STEM activities into their classrooms.

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