Mayes students embrace engineering challenges

The challenge from Mayes Elementary teacher Veronikah Olvera to her 3rd grade students was simple and direct: learn to attack and solve hard problems through creative and effective thinking, even if it means failing a few times before you succeed.

The day’s engineering lesson began with items that all kids love: puffy marshmallows, popsicle sticks and toothpicks, paper and tape, mini paper cups for checking height, and a book for testing strength.

“As I gave the students these building blocks, we discussed the meaning of a new vocabulary word: persistence, which I defined as ‘trying again and again, even when something is very hard,” said Ms. Olvera. “I asked them questions they could relate to: Does everyone get everything right the first time? When babies learn to walk, do they stand up and run on their first try? Their answer was a resounding ‘NO’, at which time the students quickly discovered that this learning session might require a lot of persistence, focus and determination to succeed.”

Using the marshmallows, popsicle sticks and toothpicks, the students worked in teams to plan and construct a structurally sound building, according to a prescribed height, that would support a textbook for a full ten seconds. Not an easy task for elementary engineers, but certainly something they could do if they practiced persistence.

“They couldn’t wait to get started,” said Ms. Olvera. “They outlined steps to complete the engineering challenge, predicted and discussed potential issues and problems, built their structure according to the team plan, then revised their plan and structure until worked – and when it did, they were so proud! You could see their mental wheels turning. This kind of learning helps stimulate imagination, exploration, deductive reasoning and teamwork as well as the persistence we talked about. Start to finish, it was a great success!”



Students in Veronikah Olivera’s classroom at Mayes Elementary worked in teams to plan and construct a structurally sound building using marshmallows, popsicle sticks and toothpicks, according to a prescribed height that would support a textbook for a full ten seconds.



Third and fourth graders in Veronikah Olivera’s Mayes classroom put the finishing touches on one of several versions of a difficult structural engineering project that required focus and persistence. “This kind of learning helps stimulate imagination, exploration, deductive reasoning and teamwork as well as the persistence we talked about. Start to finish, the project was a great success!”



Mayes students outlined steps to complete their engineering challenge, predicted and discussed potential issues and problems, built their structure according to their team plan, then revised their plan and structure until they achieved success.



The challenge from Mayes Elementary teacher Veronikah Olivera to her 3rd and 4th grade students was simple and direct: learn to attack and solve hard problems through creative and effective thinking, even if it means failing a few times before you succeed.

Recent Posts

Something Isn’t Working…

Refresh the page to try again.Error: b35e0b788eb8404a8ca78158970b6756
Archive

Denison ISD

© Copyright 2023

DENISON ISD

DISD logo with bee.png

1201 S Rusk

Denison, Texas 75020

903-462-7000

903-462-7002 FAX