Middle school “Support Your Principal” technology challenge

on February 19, 2019

With the start of the spring semester, middle school technology students participated in a STEM introductory activity called, “Support Your Principal.” This intro project is designed to challenge students’ critical thinking skills, creativity and problem solving skills. The students created a structure with index cards that was tested to determine if it could support the weight of Principal Michael Maesano!

“Activities like ‘Support your Principal’ provide students with a new platform to express their knowledge through a hands-on learning approach. This new approach to learning is aimed at developing and strengthening critical thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are providing our students with more tools on their academic tool belt. Skills that can help in other subject areas outside of Technology class,” said Conor Hughes, middle school technology teacher.

The basis of “Support your Principal” activity includes:

  • The Situation:

Mr. Hughes is the owner of the world’s largest structural engineering company and each student works at his company as a structural engineer. Mr. Hughes’s company has a meeting with a building company to display a new supporting structure design that will be used in designing a new building. Mr. Hughes had a model of a new supporting structure his company designed, however he left it at home!!! The meeting is in 40 minutes! The only materials available to create a basic structure are index cards, tape, and paper clips.

  • Question:

○ How are you going to design and demonstrate a structure that will support the weight of one of our administrators to represent the weight of a building?

  • The Challenge:

○ As a group, work as a team to brainstorm, design, and create a free standing supporting structure using only 10 index cards that can support the weight of our administrators. Our 7th graders can only use 24 inches or tape and 8th graders can only use 15 paper clips!