Grade 3’s introduction to the Design Lab has been a challenge to design a load-bearing structure. They must plan and develop a structure using limited materials (and time) that supports as many steel ball bearings as possible.
As different homerooms have done the activity, Jerry and I have had to adjust some of the parameters because the students have been good at finding loopholes in the problem – making the challenge too easy in some cases. For example, we had to stop students from making “water towers” (by attaching popsicle sticks to the sides of the cup like legs) because this was too strong and easy to make. After a couple of these adjustments, the challenge feels just right, and students are having to find more creative solutions.