STEM Preschool: Structural Engineering Class Day 1

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STEM Preschool Activities are some of our favorites, so I was really excited when we had some friends request a Structural Engineering class for our last session of co-op. The co-op we are doing this year is running in 5-week terms, so the lesson that I am sharing today is the first day (for the first week) of our class. You can use these lessons once a week like we did, or once a day for a STEM Preschool Camp! Our classes are 45-minutes long, so all of these lessons are for 45-minute classes. 🙂  

Today’s theme was all about introducing force and giving the kids a chance to engineer something fun!

We called this project Musical Marble Runs.

Week 1: Musical Marble Runs

Projects: Musical Marble Runs

Science Concepts: sound, gravity, force (a push or pull)

Lesson Overview:

1- Circle Sharing 

2- Picture Book: Iggy Peck Architect

3- Lesson: Force & Gravity

4- Project: Musical Marble Runs

Lesson Details:

1- Circle Sharing: I always take about 5 minutes to let each child share something of their choice from the last week.

2- Picture Book: Literacy is a HUGE part of preschool, and I LOVE introducing new topics to children (even older children!) with picture books. This week I started with Iggy Peck, Architect. As we read the story we talked about the pictures and what they thought about some of the crazy building projects. We also talked about gravity.

3- When we finished reading, I asked them if they knew what a force was.  We talked about their ideas, and then I told them that in science, we call a PUSH or a PULL a force.  We gave each other lots of examples!  Then I asked them what they thought gravity was. I told them that gravity is a FORCE that PULLS us (or a ball, or a toy, or anything) toward something big (like the Earth).  

4- I told them that we were going to engineer marble runs that will play a musical rhythm as the marble gets pulled down the path by gravity.  I had a VERY simple example set up–it was basically three stair-stepped blocks, but it let them see how the marble clink-clink-clinked down the path. It also gave us a starting point to look at building edges to keep the marbles on the path.

At this point, I turned the kids “loose” to start building! They spent about 20 minutes designing, building, and testing marble runs.

We made videos and took pictures, and spent the last 2 minutes of class time watching each other’s videos–our preschoolers LOVE seeing themselves on camera!

Some of the designs were very intricate, some were fancy, and some were simple. They were all a joy to watch!

Happy Educating,

Carla



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