Fascinating times with drone deliveries, self-driving cars, robots, artificial intelligence, ever-growing apps, and the list is endless. Right?
As the new world emerges with state-of-the-art technologies to make lives better and bigger, it’s important to keep up with the times.
The pace of innovation is so rapid that the new technologies of today may be obsolete in just a few years. In fact, experts predict that 65 percent of the jobs that today’s K-6 children will hold haven’t even been invented yet. Science and engineering are advancing at staggering speeds and changing the way we think, work, communicate and interact.
As educators and homeschoolers, it is important to be on top of the game and foster the spirit of innovation at home. Give kids the best of education with the latest and encourage them to think out-of-the-box.
Wondering how to do that? Here are 5 Unique STEM Challenges that can get tickle those creative cells right away!
HERE ARE THE TOP 5 STEM CHALLENGES:
1. AIRDROP CHALLENGE:
Engineer and design “airdrop packages” that can be dropped from an aircraft, protect what’s inside, and are easy to find once they reach the ground. During floods, earthquakes or any natural calamity it becomes important to send food, clothes, first aid and other supplies as quickly as possible. Helicopters need to carry supplies and drop them from a height safely. This challenge is to get young innovative minds to start thinking of solutions that can keep the cargo protected.
Cargo needs to be delivered to a flooded area, that would not allow a plane or helicopter to land. Therefore, the cargo must be dropped from a height.
It is very difficult to use a parachute for landing in this situation. Cargo needs to survive the drop without a parachute.
The carrier should not bounce or jar the cargo. It needed to just land without movement.
Design using regular household goods.
Now design a “air drop package” that is suitable for the conditions
2. DESIGN SAFETY HELMETS FOR FOOTBALLERS:
Need to design and make a “Safety Helmet” to protect the skull from any injury while playing football. Football game can cause injury to the head and concussion if the helmets are not good. Helmets have a hard shell made of plastic. There is a thick padding inside and a face mask to protect the face. It is made up of plastic coated metal bars and a chinstrap. Each position has a different type of face mask to balance protection and visibility. Some players add polycarbonate visors to their helmets, which are used to protect their eyes from glare and impacts.
Your group is a part of the equipment designing firm for Royal Sporting Goods Company.
Your firm has been hired to design a football helmet that can protect players and withstand a maximum impact speed.
The team in the firm that comes up with the most effective design will get the contract for the account.
Research the components of a bike helmet. Use styrofoam/balloons to cushion and minimise the impact on skull. Test it out.
3. DESIGN A VOICE TRANSMITTING DEVICE:
Test sound’s ability to travel through air vs. through a piece of string.
How was sound first transmitted? A little story (source: edn.com): On June 2, 1875, while working in one room Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson made an important discovery by accident. With their experimental telegraphic device, Watson tried to free a reed that had been too tightly wound around the pole of its electromagnet. He inadvertently plucked the reed, which produced a twang that Bell heard on a second device in another room. This discovery led Bell to change his focus from improving the telegraph to figuring out a way to realize the potential for voice transmissions. He and Watson spent the next several months creating a working transmitter that was capable of varying electronic currents and a receiver that would reproduce those variations in audible frequencies. On March 10, 1876, speaking through the instrument he developed, Bell called his assistant in the next room: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”
Your sibling in another room, 10 feet away.
You need to speak to your sibling from time-to-time, without anyone else hearing it. What will you do?
Make a string telephone.
Research about sound waves and how they can travel through solids, liquids and air.
4. POLLUTION/GERM SAFE MASKS:
Design and create a pollution safe face masks suitable for any pandemic outbreak. People are tired of wearing same old boring masks and want to make it cooler and creative. But what kind of paint will you choose? Acrylic, fabric paints, markers, sharpies? Test and find out which is most suitable. How would you make a tie-dye mask? How to make permanent colors bleed? Chemistry behind ink.
Need to up-cycle regular masks to make them attractive and aesthetically appealing.
Research about the layers that need to be in the mask to be safe
Fabric safe colors and attractive designs
To make tie-dye mask you need to make the color bleed. What can be used? Research about different inks and chemicals in the inks.
5. INSULATED ICE BOX:
Create an insulated cardboard box that will prevent ice from melting for 5-6 hours. You have to throw an outdoor party and not sure if you can use a fridge. Party will last for 4-5 hours. Design an insulated box that will prevent ice from melting and keep your drinks chilled!
Need to brainstorm different kinds of insulators.
Test out various materials: styrofoam, feathers, aluminum, wood chips, cork, wool
Design and draw the cardboard box to be air sealed
Need to prevent ice from melting for 4-5 hours.
Now you have exciting projects for the year end. With rescue missions, safety gears, party boxes, voice transmitters kids will be having a ball! Let their imagination run free and try out more from the blog.
Which one did you like the most? Comment below.
What you need to do now:
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Give it a try and see the difference yourself. Keep creating and designing. See you next time 🙂