MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – We’re just about a week away from the game that splits Alabama fans right down the middle, and this year schools across the state are using it to pit classmates against each other. We’re not talking about football. West Madison Elementary teachers are tying the Iron Bowl to STEM.
It’s all about STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — with some added competition. Fourth graders were using their skills to complete challenges set by the state department of education.
One student said, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We used that to determine how much force to put on the float.” The girls designed half-time floats that had to cross 100 inches of ground with just one push.
“All these kids want to jump right in and build but we kind of talked about when people go to engineering and design houses, they can’t just start building,” said fourth grade teacher Kasie Wilson.
The students have to strategize and test out their creations.
“When we were designing we had to collaborate on our ideas because no idea is a bad one,” one student said.
The boys designed a helmet to protect a water balloon from a six foot drop.
“The first thing we wanted to do was put cotton balls in the egg cartons,” said a student.
“We analyzed the experiments we made,” said another.
Students learned that failure can lead to success. So they were asked, when you think of the engineering process what words come to your mind? Some students said researching, planning and processing, but the biggest one of all was teamwork.
Only one team from each challenge at each school can win. At West Madison – the Alabama float from Kasie Wilson’s fourth grade class won and the Auburn football helmet from Lisa Walden’s fourth grade class won.