My Minnesota students don't let the cold bother them when it comes to being curious learners. We use the snow and the cold to our advantage, and being an environmentally focused school, nature helps to guide our understanding of the world. They're constantly asking questions and seeking a deeper understanding.
Our students would rather spend the day learning outside than anywhere else.
They truly embrace the motto "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing and bad attitudes.”
Nothing creates more excitement about learning than a hands-on project, especially one that gets you outside! As an environmental STEM school, we place great value on project-based learning, and by giving the students the opportunity to work through skills such as planning, developing, and testing, we allow them to foster a love for learning by creating something that they can be proud of--something that they are in charge of from start to finish. When a student is able to decide how his or her project should look, and how they want to put it together, they have ownership over their work, and it's easy to see how much extra care those students put into it.
As we design and build our sleds, students will have the chance to experience every step of the engineering process.
They will research physics concepts that might make a sled faster or slower, they will go through several phases of design and testing coupled with physics demonstrations and experiments, and finally they will build and test their final products. The sleds themselves will be constructed of "upcycled" cardboard that's been collected from around the school, and the colorful duct tape will provide a water tight and reduced-friction surface. The tape is practical, but its vivid colors will also allow students to get creative and truly personalize and add their own unique styles. This project will truly bring to life some difficult science topics for our students and make these concepts not just understandable, but tangible as well.
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