STEM – Apple Engineering

This Monday, in honor of Johnny Appleseed Day, first graders partnered with fifth graders to learn about plant domestication. Through a Mystery Science exploration, they set out to discover why some apples are red and why some apples are green.  They learned that thousands of years ago, plants, such as tiny apples, were chosen from the wild.  By carefully selecting seeds generation after generation, the fruit has been made sweeter and bigger.  After viewing several brief videos and participating in group discussions, students conducted an apple taste test of four varieties (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious).  Together, they deemed Honeycrisp to be the sweetest.  It was also the favorite among students!

Today, we again partnered with 5th grade, this time in a follow up STEM challenge.  The challenge began by establishing that it’s harvest time.  As such, students were tasked with designing and building an easy-to-carry container that would hold as many apples as possible.  The product had to meet the following criteria:

  • must be easy to carry
  • must have handles of some kind
  • must be large enough to hold at least three apples
  • must hold the apples without anyone’s hands under it
  • apples must stay in the container while it is carried 10 steps

Constraints of the challenge including choosing materials only from those provided and completing each stage within the allotted timeframe.  Students selected from the following:  aluminum foil, waxed paper, cardboard scraps, paper plates, craft sticks, sandwich bags, clear tape, straws, and yarn.  They were allowed to use scissors and hole punches. Following a five step process involving investigation, brainstorming, planning, building, and testing, students attempted to complete the challenge.

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