Johnston Elementary students practice engineering skills, teamwork


    A classroom project that included science, technology, engineering, math and a little bit of luck also taught students about teamwork. The goal for Johnston Elementary School students in teacher Terri Downing's fourth-grade class was to clear their pumpkin patches with as few moves as possible. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

    A classroom project that included science, technology, engineering, math and a little bit of luck also taught students about teamwork.

    The goal for Johnston Elementary School students in teacher Terri Downing's fourth-grade class was to clear their pumpkin patches with as few moves as possible.

    It's a lot harder than it looks.

    Students used ordinary items like craft sticks, plastic forks and rubber bands to design their pumpkin pickers.

    The candy represented the pumpkins in the field.

    Students were separated into teams, and the young engineers designed and built their tools together, which prepares them for the technology skills they'll need in the future.

    "So, even though this isn't working with electronic technology, it's getting them in that mindset of thinking outside the box," Downing said.

    "They have a multi-use tool here. The tool does several different things, doesn't it?"

    This group even came up with a plan to water their seeds.

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