One of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) investigations I often introduce during the STEM teacher training workshops I conduct nation and worldwide is the science of Parachutes.We begin the investigation by analyzing seeds and how they are dispersed. That may be followed up by designing and constructing a paper helicopter that floats through the air similar to how milkweed, pine cone, and dandelion seeds travel. We discuss how man borrowed the design of the modern-day parachute from nature as in the flight of dandelion seeds. Leonardo daVinci is said to have gotten his inspiration for his triangular-shaped parachute from observing and analyzing how seeds were dispersed. Additionally, we discuss STEM-related concepts relative to parachutes (air resistance, surface area, gravity, Newton’s Laws of Motion, kinetic and potential energy, and other concepts). We then move onto the engineering design process. Teachers observe and analyze a variety of pre-made parachutes. They then design, construct, and test their own parachutes, re-designing if necessary. I provide a wide-array of materials for teachers to build with. Low-cost and accessible being number one priority. Plastic trash bags, paper bags, tissue paper, string, washers, plastic figurines, tape, digital balances, and rulers are about all you need to design some pretty cool and functional parachutes.
Posts Tagged ‘biomimicry’
Developing Critical Thinking Skills via Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) ConceptsDiana Wehrell-Grabowski on August 23, 2011 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Comments Off on Developing Critical Thinking Skills via Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Concepts
Had the pleasure of conducting a STEM teacher training workshop for a middle school in Florida that has become a STEM school this year. It’s an exciting time for the teachers and students to become a part of the ever growing STEM movement. All teachers of the school will incorporate STEM concepts within their classrooms, whether they are a foreign language teacher, reading or social studies teacher. The entire staff at CASE will incorporate STEM, and they are excited to be involved with such an endeavor. During the STEM teacher training workshop I conducted teachers explored an array of STEM concepts from conducting experiments. We began the workshop with teachers exploring biomimicry concepts. Incorporating biomimicry investigations into the STEM classroom helps to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the student. Teachers also conducted experiments with nano-technology products as well as designing, constructing, and testing parachutes. In addition to the many hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations teachers conducted to explore STEM concepts they were also introduced to literature that reinforces STEM concepts. The following photos are a sample representation of some of the hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based STEM investigations the teachers undertook during the STEM teacher training workshop.