Day of Discovery gives Polk Central third graders chance to hone STEM skills

Day of Discovery is a tradition at Polk Central Elementary, a time devoted to promoting scientific inquiry to help further students’ knowledge and curiosity in the field of science.

For this year’s Day of Discovery, held Nov. 9, third graders participated in three different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities. Students were asked to follow the engineering process used by NASA to engineer a specific task related to force and motion (design and build a simple machine using a pulley that can lift a toy lion), design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two “astronauts” when they land and create a rain cloud using shaving cream and water to represent the clouds and the atmosphere.

Students had to collaborate with one another to create their final product. Students were highly engaged and excited about their tasks at hand.

There were many shouts of “this is hard!” or “this didn’t work out how I thought it would.” Students learned valuable lessons relating to real-world problems such as time constraints, limited materials and having to compromise with ideas.

Overall, students were very excited. “That was a lot of fun!” “Next time, I would engineer this differently” “I needed more tape. A lot more tape.” “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be but I did it!”