Thanks to Brian Crosby, my 4th and 5th grade STEM students are in the midst of a mini-unit focusing on cantilever spans and architecture. Since our high stakes testing saga in Oklahoma of modified schedules is continuing this week, it’s good to have flexible lesson plans. After building the cantilever spans per Brian’s lesson suggestions, today I showed some of my classes how to use the iPad app “Explain Everything” to create a short, 3 slide narrated slideshow. In the midst of researching cantilever span architecture, I found this wonderful YouTube video (“How to design like an architect | A modern home“) which I hope to share with my students soon. I’ve added it to my STEM curriculum page for cantilever spans. I think it’s super-important to show videos like this to students which present the career pathway possibilities available in STEM-related career fields! It’s also just a REAL cool video about architecture and the work of architects!

Doug Patt, the author of this video, is the lead teacher / instructor / architect at “The Architect’s Academy,” a 21st century educational entrepreneur site offering a wealth of recorded and live video options for $150. Impressive.

This is the 4 slide presentation I used to introduce students to the cantilever span building activity. Many thanks to Lowe’s Home Improvement of Oklahoma City, which donated about $70 of 1/2″ washers and a bunch of wooden paint sticks for my students to use in this project!

This is the simple storyboard template I provided to students today who started on their narrated slideshow projects. (Yes, it’s hand drawn!) I traced around a credit card to make the storyboard rectangles – that’s a handy tip I picked up a year or so ago from a Vimeo video about digital storytelling.

Access these resources and links to a TON of photos of students building their cantilever spans on my STEM curriculum Google Site. For more great STEM lesson ideas from Brian Crosby, check out the 63 minute recorded Google Hangout on STEMseeds that he shared in March.

Keep up with upcoming STEMseeds webcasts by following @STEMseeds on Twitter and joining the STEMseeds Google+ Community. Also follow all the members of my STEM teacher Twitter list!

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  • Brian Crosby

    Great to see your students in action. This lesson has so many possibilities for extension and ties to language arts and math beyond the engineering aspects. Also imagine in almost any era of history your grade level might be learning – doing a study on how bridges were built at that time in history and compare that with today’s designs (along with the cantilevers they built themselves) to note shifts in materials utilized, why did bridges need to get bigger, longer, carry more weight, be built from different materials? Would bring to light the limitations and why from each era and geographical region. What would you build a bridge out of on Mars? The Moon? No large bodies of water, would you even need a bridge? Great explorations!
    Brian – Learning is messy!

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Made with Love in Oklahoma City