Carson City elementary students learn by bungee jumping Barbie
As Empire Elementary School works toward becoming more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused, all the students in grades K-5 participated in a schoolwide project Tuesday called “Barbie Bungee.” The project was designed to allow students to stretch their minds and explore their engineering savvy by applying it firsthand through an outdoor bungee jump, or test.
The project-based learning taught the students about the properties of different materials as they explored which type of rope would best meet the criteria for a successful bungee drop. They also gathered data as they measured distances of various drops and how different lengths and weights affect the drop distance.
During the first few weeks of school, students with the help of their teachers graphed the data and analyzed the information to make predictions that would help their design.
After engaging discussion, each class came up with the design they felt would best meet the criteria of having their Barbie or action-figure bungee-jump safely off the playground ball wall.
“This was such a fun and engaging way to involve students in their learning,” said Adrienne Wiggins, STEM coach at Empire. “They had great questions and rich discussions at every level. One third grade class even realized they could test their design at 55 inches and then double the results to get to the total distance of 110 inches.”
As the school continues through the year, teachers will be creating STEM units each quarter that integrate their grade level standards from the different subjects, Wiggins continued. Students will be engaged in real-world problem-based learning that helps them make connections to the world beyond classroom walls.