• Showcase 7.31.18

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/31/2018


    On Thursday, July 31st, around 150 students and their families came together for our Summer of STEM Showcase.  After a BBQ dinner, prizes for reading were awarded.

    • 30-500 Minutes:  58 Students received a book of their choice
    • 501-1000 Minutes:  8 Students received a Grizzly Discovery Center T-shirt and a book of their choice
    • 1001-2000 Minutes:  11 Students received $10 Amazon Gift Certificates, a GDC T-shirt and a book of their choice.
    • 2001 + Minutes:  4 Students read over 2000 minutes with one topping 3,500 minutes.  They each received the grand prize of a tablet (on which they can load a reading app such as Kindle), a GDC t-shirt, and a book of their choice.

    All together, our students read over 41,000 minutes in twenty days and less than ten percent showed any decrease in their reading level during the summer.  Great job, kids!

    Our evening ended with STEM challenges for our parents and their students.  One mother and her son made a sticky structure.  She commented that they were heading home to enjoy some dessert (gum drops) courtesy of the Sticky Structures STEM Challenge.  Others worked on Card Towers, coming up with a variety of designs.  From Chihuly Inspired Macchia's to puff mobiles, a fun time was had by all.


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  • July 31, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/31/2018

    Grade 4:  Windmills & Litter Bugs

    Our fourth grade class was challenged to make windmills out of straws, tape and cups.  Below, Jeshiah demonstrates his final product.  He was quite proud that it worked so well.


    The next day, the class was challenged to make litter bugs.  No, we did not send them outside with a bunch of trash to throw on the ground.  Quite the opposite.  We had them make bug type creatures out of recycled materials.  Here are the results:



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  • July 26, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/26/2018

     Grade 3:  Yummy Structures

    How tall a tower could you build out of gum drops and toothpicks?  If it was me, not very tall because I'd probably eat most of the gum drops.  Our third grade class showed remarkable restraint and self-control as they assembled their sticky structures.  While the boys used triangles, the girls relied on cubes.  Several groups realized the need for additional support at the base and added buttresses at the bottom.  Even our youngest visiting student made a dome ~ of course, her mother didn't give her as many gum drops.  All the students reported that they were taking their creations home to eat!


    Grade 5:  Cookie Towers

    Our fifth grade boys didn't show quite as much restraint as they built their cookie towers out of oreos, marshmallows graham crackers and toothpicks.  They started out well as you can see in the pictures below, but we didn't end up with pictures of their final creations because they were eaten!




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  • July 25, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/25/2018

    Grade 7+:  Rollercoasters & Rube Goldberg Machines

    After working on their projects for three weeks, our grade 7+ class was finally ready to share it.  The first group to see the rollercoaster in action was the K-2 class.  Before starting the rollercoaster, the students shared about the physics involved such as kinetic and potential energy.  They explained that the chain to bring the rollercoaster to the top caught and stripped the gears of the motor.  Rather than let this be a deterint to completing the project, the students manually pull the chain and raise the rollercoaster cars.  Another student shared that he helps the cars make one of the turns at the bottom because the team was unable to overcome the lack of momentum and the angles at that point.  Their motto was "Try Fail - Try Fail - Try Prevail" and they demonstrated it throughout the project.


    The other part of their summer focus was on chain reactions.  Students worked in teams to build Rube Goldberg machines out of jenga style blocks, marble machines, hot wheels tracks, and much more.  Often an exercise in frustration, these students demonstrated patience, resilence and grit this summer as they built and rebuilt their chain reactions many times. 



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  • July 24, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/24/2018



    Grade K-2:  Oobleck

    What is at the same time a liquid and a solid???  A Non-Newtonian fliud that was featured in Dr. Seuss' book, Bartholowmew and the Oobleck.  Push your hands into the mixture of corn starch and water to mix it around and its a fluid that drips off your fingers.  However, step on it or hop on it and it acts like a solid.  You can see the joy on our students' faces as they check it out.  Our older students enjoyed testing it, too.  The students even got Miss Vickie to try it and she was so surprised that she could walk on the surface. 




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  • July 23, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/23/2018

    Grade 3:  The Red Balloon Tower

    For STEM Stories today, our third grade class read The Red Balloon and then were challenged to create a balloon tower as tall as they could make it go.  One group created a wide base and added balloons until they reached the ceiling.  They used almost a whole roll of masking tape to keep the balloons in place.  Another group used only one balloon as the base and strategically placed the masking tape to pile balloons one on top of the other, using very little tape.  They managed to get it eleven balloons high.


    Grade 5:  Iggy Peck, Architect

    The story of a young man who was born to build inspired today's build by our fifth grade students.  Using toothpicks and gum drops, the students built sticky structures.  Some used squares, others triangles, others combinations of various shapes.  Shanen's sweet tower was the tallest of all 

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  • July 19, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/19/2018

    Grade 3:  Mystery Build

    Today our third grade students engaged in a mystery build.  Their challenge was one familiar to engineers everywhere:  to complete their build with the least supplies possible.  They had to buy their supplies and keep track of their expenses.  Some of the students made marble runs and others bridges.


    Grade 4:  Dam the River

    Living in a community on a river, which is forded by the Albeni Falls and Box Canyon Dams, our students regularly see the river rise and fall.  Their challenge today was to build a dam that would hold back the water.  Here are their efforts:

    Grade 6:  Solar S'mores

    A  delicious challenge was given to our sixth grade class:  Make a solar oven that will cook a s'more.  Using pizza boxes, aluminum foil, black construction paper, and plastic, the students created ovens that melted the chocolate and made the marshmallow gooey on the inside.  The best part of the challenge was, of course, eating them!


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  • July 18, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/18/2018

    K-2:  Marble Wall Maze

    The goal of today's engineering challenge was to build a wall marble maze using carboard tubes and tape.  The marble had to travel down the track and drop into a cup.  After putting the marble in the maze, the students were supposed to touch it or "help" it along.  As the students progressed through the challenge, some of them became frustrated and were ready to quit.  The teachers reminded them to keep trying and it was exciting to see the joy on their faces when their ideas finally worked.  Here's what some of the kids were saying . . .

    Alex:  "I have an idea!  May if we put the cup on the group, the marble won't have to bounce into it."

    Wyatt:  "So the top is gonna be high and we're gonna have two slides and it's gonna go into the cup!"

    Timmy:  "Ours is gonna be the longest marble run."

    Asking Ms. Carlie,

    • Forest: "We need a new marble."
    • Ms. Carlie:  "You only get one marble."
    • Forest (running back to his group: "We only get one marble. We gotta find ours!"


    Grade 3:  Beat the Heat

    Beat the Heat by making a water slide.  Students had a construct a water slide down which a small plastic toy could slide propelled by water.  While the basic design was the same . . . a ramp with a place at the top where was is added to make the toy float aways . . . the execution was different in the details.  They defnitely had fun trying out this challenge!


    Grade 4:  Newspaper Domes

    Continuing with a simple structures theme, the fourth grade class attempted to make a huge dome out of newpaper.


    Grade 5:  Puff Mobiles

    How far can a car travel on a puff of air?  That's what the budding engineers in the fifth grade class attempted to find out today.  Their challenge was to design a car that would move forward the fastest on a puff of air.  At the end of the project, the fourth grade students watched as the fifth graders raced their vehicles.  It left us all a little breathless!


    Grade 6:  Solar Ovens

    Our sixth grade students were challenged to build a solar oven out of a pizza box and aluminum foil.  It has to be big enough and get hot enough to roast a couple marshmallows so that the group can have S'Mores.  They are looking forward to trying out their creations tomorrow and hopefully having yummy, gooey, delicious treats.


    Grade 7:  Serious Building Today

    The 7th-10th grade students worked furiously, but carefully, today to increase the size and scope of their Rube Goldberg machines.  After examing possible connections between three different parts of the machine, the class decided that it wasn't feasible to connect them given the time allotted and the size of the viewing area.

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  • July 17, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/17/2018

    K-2:  Bed Bugs?  No Bug Beds!

    Didn't mean to start you itching! Our K-2 class had "the BEST finding day EVER!"  They made home for slugs and other bugs out of egg cartons.  Then, they searched for inhabitants for their homes. Here are some of their comments about the day . . .

    When Kenzie C. found a slug, she exclaimed, "I don't like slugs anymore because I had some in my sandbox and they turned to juice!"


    Waylon P.:  "I love building art."

    Ady F.:  "We're putting bugs in bug cartons."

    Timmy W., when he found a bug:  "At last, I find you!"

    Layla E.:  "I like this activity because I want to bring home a creature."  I hope her mom and dad are as excited as she is about the new roommate.

    Lucas and Wyatt, when they found bug eggs, chanted, "We have slug eggs!  We're gonna be parents!"

    Grade 3:  To the Rescue

    Our third grade students were challenged to make rescue devices today.  Sadly, we don't have any pictures of their products.  I hope to have student comments soon.

    Grade 4:  Domes & Pyramids

    Today saw our grade four students take on challenges, in real life, have resulted in some amazing structures:  Domes and Pyramids.  Students had to build a geodesic dome with toothpicks and gum drops (I wonder how many were eaten along the way???).  Unlike the pyramid builders of Ancient Egypt, our students didn't have to push and pull gigantic stone blocks across logs.  Still, their challenge took a lot of teamwork and coordination.  They had to stach a set of cups as high as possible.  The challenge:  Don't use your hands!  They had to work together to lift the cups using rubberbands.

    Grade 5:  Straw Rockets

    Our grade five class had a blast today (pun intended) as they built rockets out of straws and launched them.  After testing their creations, they commented:

    Cloud:  OOOH!  How do you tie knots in the rubberbands?

    Steven:  This is the best working one I've made so far.

    Barrett:  This works sooo good!

    Shanen:  I can't wiat to make these at home.

    Ruger:  I'm making even bigger rockets at home!

    Their rockets launched high enough to hit the roof.


    Grade 6:  Repurpose for Life

    Continuing with their self-sustaining nature projects using recycled materials, the sixth grade students made bird feeders from small milk containers and mini-terrariums from cups.  When asked what was hard about this challenge,  STEM challenges have highlighted the importance of research in coming up with solutions.  At first, these students were stumped by the bird feed project.  Seeing an example sparked their imaginations and they each came up with a different design.  The hardest part was making a perch for the birds to stand as they eat from the feeder.  


    Grade 7:  Research & Design

    The engineering process begins with a question.  Engineers then research what has already been done and brainstorm what they can do.  Taking one or more of their ideas, they create a design, build it and test it.  This is what our grade 7-10 class did today.  They started out viewing other Rube Goldberg machines on YouTube to get ideas for their creations.  Building involved a lot of testing and tweeking.  Progress is being made!


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  • July 16, 2018

    Posted by Vickie Blanchet on 7/16/2018

    K-2:  Chihuly Inspired Macchia

    What is a Macchia?  And who is Chihuly?  The word "macchia" means "stain" and Dale Chihuly is an artist who specialized in colorful glass sculptures.  If you're ever in Seattle check out his exhibit, which is located right next to the Space Needle.  So, what does this have to do with our K-2 project?  Well, our students used colored felt pens to draw pretty designs on coffee filters.  Then, they folded their coffee filters over a plastic solo cup and secured them with a rubber band.  Finally, they sprayed them with starch.  This caused the colors to bleed, leaving a "Chihuly inspired Macchia."


    Grade 3:  Jamie O'Rourke & the Big Potato

    Today, our third grade students read Jamie O'Rourke & the Big Potato by Tomie de Paolo.  Then they were challenged to build a pulley that would lift their "giant" potato.  Here are the results:


    Grade 4:  A Wolf Proof House

    After reading the story of The Three Little Pigs, our fourth grade students were challenged to build a "Wolf Proof House."  While we didn't have a wolf to test them, we did try to blow them down with a box fan.


    Grade 5:  Straw Boats

    Our sixth grade students were challenged to build straw boats that could hold as much weight as possible after reading How Many Days to America? by Eve Bunting and Beth Peck as a way to understand the perilousness of the journey many refugees take fleeing oppressive regimes.  Here are their creations:


    Grade 6:  One Plastic Bag

    "What do we do with used plastic bags?" is a question to which people around the world have struggled to find an answer.  After our sixth grade students read the story One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul, they were challenged to REPURPOSE a plastic bag into something useful.   Flavi ressponded, "I couldn't get the plastic bags into a ball shape."  Aislin felt that coming up with an idea was the hardest part.  Oh, and "keeping the duct tape straight so that it only stuck where I wanted it to."

    Here are their results:


    Grade 7+:  Rube Goldberg Machines

    This week, our grade 7-10 students have been learning about, designing and building their own "Rube Goldberg" machines as they learn about chain reactions.  On the first day they used a variety of materials to experiment with the concept individually or in pairs.


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