Thursday, October 31, 2013

Voyageur Roller coasters

  In the spring of 2012, Cindy Jensen and Linda Mrazek enrolled in a grant-funded STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) class held at Mayville State University.  The two-fold purpose of the course was to familiarize teachers with all areas of engineering and involve them in many activities using the eight step engineering process. Each participant was given a stipend to purchase materials for the classroom; Linda chose to purchase eighteen roller coaster sets.       

  On Friday, October 24th, Voyageur students were placed in groups of four and asked to build a roller coaster following the eight step process: 1) They had to identify the problem (build a roller coaster in 45 minutes that kept the marble on the track), 2) identify the criteria and constraints (there must be a loop and a bend and the marble must travel the roller coaster three consecutive times), 3) brainstorm a plan, 4) select an approach, 5) build a model, 6) test the model, 7) communicate results, and 8) refine the design. As witnessed by all who came to watch, every student was fully engaged in the activity.  It is Linda's hope that we can do this again as a team, changing the constraints and incorporating a technical writing piece.

Great Job Mrs. Mrazek and the Voyageur team!

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