Tuesday, October 30, 2012

STEM fun on Planet Oobleck

Have you ever heard of the planet Oobleck?  This is one of my favorite lessons from Seeds of Science Planets and Moon unit.

Here is the basic premise - a new planet has been discovered with similar temperature, atmosphere and gravity to the Earth but with a different surface feature.  A satellite has gathered a sample to return to Earth for us to study.  We need to determine what would be the best type of material to use as a lander - cork, plastic cups, spoons, paper clips, Popsicle sticks or straws.

Some materials sank and some were able to stay on top without tipping over. After testing each material, we wrote our data down to remember which ones worked the best.  
After a day of exploring materials we designed a lander that would be able to land on the planet oobleck in our science journals.
The next day, I showed up with a ton of materials - plastic cups, tape, straws, paper clips, etc...and we built our own 3-D landers.

And no good design experiment would be complete without testing it in the Oobleck as well...
It was lots of fun...and engaging for all students as we explored a "real world" 21st century problem!

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