Building and Skyscrapers Popping Up at Woodson!

Thursday, March 26, 2015 –¬†written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

March 26 - 11The girls had previously learned about floods and now they were going to learn about buildings and more structures. Our guest scientist Christina Sedighi, a civil engineer who works for the US Army Corps of Engineers, really wanted the girls to learn key words to use when it comes to buildings and the materials need to be used. She had the best pre activity for the girls too! The words were tension and compression. First she demonstrated with a piece of string how tension means strong and how compression means weak or loose. By pulling the string from opposite ends, tightened it and made tension. Compression is the opposite and showed by using a marshmallow that when there isn’t any force on the marshmallow, it is loose and easy to pull apart. Now it was the girls turn to be force!! She had the girls stand up and partner up. They were to hold each other’s hands and pull to understand tension and then for them to lean against each other’s backs to understand compression. The girls enjoyed it a lot. After they were being force they had a challenge. Christina had the girls have a competition with each other, in March 26 - 10three groups the girls had to build the tallest tower they could in a limited amount of time. The winning group would win a prize. The trick is, they have to build the tower from¬†marshmallows and spaghetti.

The game was on and it was very interesting because not one tower was the same. Each group had their own strategy on the kind of foundation they wanted for their tower. Each tower had their own design, whether it looked familiar or a little abstract. I was proud of the hard work and creativity they put into this engineering activity. Semajah was really into this activity and wanted the foundation to work. In her group she was really giving her ideas and making sure her group was focused. I really admired Stephanee as well. In her group, she was focused and really worked hard in her group. At the end of the session we had a winner!!! At 1 ft and 10 inches, the tower of Stephanees group was the tallest!!! In that group, there was Stephanee, Jailan, Rachel, and Parriona. The prize was chocolate and March 26 - 8they were very happy about it. I know the girls really liked this activity and Christina was definitely a great scientist that engaged with the girls and helped them get a better picture on how it is to work for construction. It’s about focus, creativity, and let’s not forget trial and error!