Now that the students helped Samuel and his family dig the well, it was time to get water from the well. Unfortunately, the water wasn't very clean so the students were introduced to their next engineering task of helping Samuel create a water filter clean the water from the clay soil as best as possible. Utilizing the EDP, groups selected two materials (out of 5 options) they thought would filter the water the best. After each group tested their first filters the results of each group were analyzed and discussed. Then the groups determined how they would improve their water filter to produce better results.
For the next STEM challenge, 3rd grade students were transported back in time to 1893 where they were introduced to Samuel, a 12 year old boy, who settled out west with his family. Samuel and his family needed help getting large rocks out of the well they were trying to dig. The students had to go through the EDP to create a rock excavator that would lift the rocks 12 inches out of the bottom of the well. The more rocks they could remove at once the better!
To continue to build on their collaboration and communication skills, but also engage in the engineering and design process (EDP) the 3rd grade students had to work in small groups to design a slide, swing, or seesaw that was safe for a marble. With limited materials available the students really had to use creativity and critical thinking as they worked through the steps of the design process. Most groups required a few prototypes before they arrived at their end products.