Tag Archives: Design Process

Curiosity Machine

Curiosity Machine is a wonderful resource for educators and parents who are interested in cultivating a love for S.T.E.M./S.T.E.M. as well as making.  The site aims to cultivate “curiosity, creativity, and persistence” to help children succeed by offering hands-on engineering challenges.

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The challenges are in a vast array of topics from aerospace to food science to satellite systems.  One topic that interests me is biomimicry, as my 2nd graders are currently studying the physical adaptations of animals.  All of the challenges walk students through the design process, something that has become increasingly recognized as an educational necessity for citizens of the future.

Educators, parents, and students can access the challenges by getting a free membership.  Educators are able to create class groups, but students must join first before being invited to a group. If students are under 13 years old,  parents must first complete a consent form.  However, educators and parents can join themselves to access the materials and use them without the need of student membership.

There are also paid memberships, These include mentors (professional engineers and scientists) on student projects , training for parents and educators, and online support.

To get some great ideas for building, inventing, and problem-solving, visit Curiosity Machine and explore its wealth of resources!

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How about a Game of Foolsball?

The following pics are of creations that students made using our new Makerbot 3D printer.  Mrs. Lackey, our librarian, guided a small “pilot” group of 5th graders through the City X curriculum.  In this curriculum, a story is weaved about a fictional city on another planet that has problems that need to be solved.  The students go through the design process to generate ideas, making prototypes, and printing their creations on the 3D printer.

The first student chose to help develop a new sport that could be played.  He designed, printed, and painted a stadium where “Foolsball” could be played.

PicCollage (2)

In the second example, the student was tasked with developing a way for the city’s animals to stay healthy and receive medical attention if needed. He created a collar that dogs could wear that would monitor the dogs vitals and dispense medicine when needed.

PicCollage (1)

PicCollageThe third student genetically engineered a new animal that has the characteristics of several Earth species. The animal will help to protect the city with its many combined strengths.

Mrs. Lackey and I have been so impressed with the quality of this free curriculum that we plan to expand the program to many more students next school year.

To learn more about 3D Printing in Elementary School, check out this post I recently wrote for Free Tech for Teachers.