In the series Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II, students learned how to work as a team to extend the tale or help our beloved characters. During this series, we explored 10 new fairy tales- and design challenges:
Use some of y our favorites in your classroom or introduce your students to some new fairy tales!
The last tale in our Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II series is Aladdin. The story begins as an evil sorcerer convinces Aladdin and his mother that he is a the brother of Aladdin’s late father. He convinces the pair that he will set Aladdin up as a wealthy merchant and soon earns his trust. But, what the sorcerer really wants is for Aladdin to retrieve a magic lamp from a cursed cave.
In this challenge, students work together to design and build a grabber device that will help Aladdin safely grab the lamp from the cave without being trapped inside. Using the NGSS Performance Expectations, students collaborate to find a solution.
This week, students explore the tale of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. In this fairy tale, the Steadfast Tin Soldier (who was the last one cast and therefore has only one leg) falls in love with a ballerina. That night, a goblin from the toy box warns the soldier to not fall in love with the ballerina, but the soldier ignores him. The next day, the goblin pushes the soldier out the window and after a few mis-adventures, the soldier finds himself back with the ballerina once more.
In this week’s challenge, students are tasked with designing and building a pulley system that will help the soldier get back up to the window ledge.
This week in the Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II series, is the tale of The Bremen Town Musicians. In this fairy tale, the musicians- the donkey, the hound, the cat and the rooster- set out to become town musicians. On their way into the town, they came upon a house of robbers and they work together to drive the robbers from the house, giving them shelter for the night. So as not to be bested, the robbers approach the house at dark and are once again driven away.
In this engineering design challenge, students work in teams to devise a trap that will keep the robbers away. Using low-cost materials, students follow the their criteria and constraints to find the best solution.
Our next fairy tale in the Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II series is Thumbelina. In the tale, Thumbelina is taken from her home and after a few misadventures (and the help of a sallow) finds a place that she can call home.
In this design challenge, students are tasked to work as a team to design and build a home for Thumblina. Following their list of criteria and constraints, students work towards finding a viable solution.
In the fairy tale of The Pied Piper of Hamlin, the king of the land offers a pot of gold to whomever can rid the town of rats. The Piper offers his services and the king agrees. The Piper begins playing his musical flute and marches the rats out of town. Upon returning to the town, the piper asks for payment and the king denies him the gold. So, to punish the king and his townsfolk, the Piper plays his musical flute once again and this time lures all of the children away.
In this fairy tale challenge, teams are tasked with building a musical instrument that meets a set of criteria and constraints. As students work towards a solution, they are using the Engineering Design Process as well as refining their skills in the NGSS Engineering Design Performance Expectations.
In the Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II series, we are using fairy tale characters as an introduction to to the engineering design process. In each tale, students are challenged to help extend the story or help our lovable characters through finding a solution to a problem that they face in the story.
This week’s fairy tale is Pinocchio. In the story, Pinocchio is a wooden puppet and wishes to be a real boy. We can’t make him into a real boy, but we can do the next best thing! In this engineering design challenge, students work in teams to design and build a puppet friend for Pinocchio.
In our latest series, Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales II, students are challenged to work in teams to help our fairy tale characters. In the tale of The Frog Prince, the princess loses her ball at the bottom of the pond and a friendly frog promises to retrieve it if she promises to let him live with her in the castle.
Students work to design and build an arm/crane that will help the princess retrieve her ball. In completing this design challenge, students build their teamwork skills, use the Engineering Design Process and practice NGSS Engineering Design Performance Expectations.