Middle School Students at Jacobs Fork were given a new STEM Challenge this week. Students were divided into small groups to work on the activity. The main challenge was to see which group could build the tallest standing tower using only 15 pipe cleaners. No other materials were allowed to be used to secure the tower.
Students were exposed to a couple of “real world” twists. After five minutes of working each group was notified that their corporation was losing money and had to downsize its amount of employees. In order to experience this students were instructed to place one arm behind their back and could only use the other arm for their challenge.
After another five minutes each group received news that business was booming and that all employees were hired back, so they could use both arms. Unfortunately the CEO has chosen to move its headquarters to another country. Because of this move students were no longer allowed to communicate with each other because of the language barriers caused by the move.
This activity challenged our students to work collaboratively in groups. No matter what changed in their environment the students maintained a sharp focus on completing their challenge.