STEAM Project in 4th Grade

[STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.  It’s an approach to learning we take seriously here at TLC!  Use the category selector drop down menu over in the right hand sidebar to select “STEAM” to learn more.  The pictures and words to today’s post come directly from Assistant Teacher Ms. Chris in Fourth Grade.]

These are pictures from a 4th grade STEAM project that developed quite by accident.  We have moved into a unit covering measurement.  Within this unit we are learning the proper way to measure items, which tools to use and how to make predictions/estimates.  We are also covering perimeter.

One student has been making a long finger knitting chain and asked me if we could measure it in class.  We started laying it out on the floor and several questions popped up from the students themselves, such as “How do we measure it if it’s curved?”  “How do we keep it from stretching?”

The students came up with the idea to lay the finger knitting chain around the center portion of desks.  They taped the corners down so they could be measured at an angle.

In our next class, we discussed what a STEAM project was and what each letter stood for and how we could incorporate each part in our own project.

The students were then divided into groups of 7 or 8 and were assigned jobs.  They were told they could use rulers, yardsticks, pencil and paper.  They first needed to make a prediction on how long they thought the chain would be.  One student was the recorder and had to write down the prediction, measurements, strategies used and obstacles encountered.

They had to measure each side, decide which measurement tool(s) to use, how to get an accurate measurement and decide what to do when the measurement wasn’t exact.  After they measured each side, they had to work together as a group and add up their measurements and convert their final measurement into yards, feet and inches.  The recorders then presented their teams’ predictions and actual measurements to the class.   We discussed the predictions, actual measurements and the variations in measurement for each group.

We also read the book, Millions to Measure, by David M. Schwartz.  This book explains how the US Standard Measurement system and the Metric system came about.

We were very impressed with how the students worked together in their groups and how they came up with various ways of problem solving.

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