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Fish, Pennies, And Teamwork In STEM Class

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What do fishing and pennies have to do with science? In Mrs. Ellen Peek’s STEM class, it means a friendly competition that put students' scientific skills and collaborative teamwork to the test.

“Prior to Christmas break we read Luke 5:1-11” explains Peek, “when Jesus asks Simon and the other fishermen to throw their nets out - even though they had worked all night fishing and caught nothing. When they did, they caught so many fish that their nets began to tear and the boats began to sink. For this project, students were challenged to build a boat that could hold the most weight without sinking. The boat could be no higher, longer, or wider than 6 inches and it had to float and then hold weight.” 

Students set to work in groups, constructing vessels that looked like boats, rafts, and, ships. Crowding around Peek, the groups anxiously waited to see if their vessels met the measurement requirements (point deduction if it didn’t) then they counted together as Peek dropped penny after penny (or “fish” after “fish”) onto the project to see how long before it took on water. 

After many cheers (and ughs!) the groups reflected on what worked and what didn't work, as well as what they could do differently next time for a better result.