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ERIC Number: EJ1117128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Engineering Encounters: Building a Spaghetti Structure
Llewellyn, Douglas; Pray, Sandra; DeRose, Rob; Ottman, William
Science and Children, v54 n2 p70-75 Oct 2016
This column presents ideas and techniques to enhance science teaching. In this month's issue an upper elementary Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenge brings an engineer into the classroom while emphasizing cooperation, communication, and creativity. STEM activities come in various shapes and sizes. Some are quite involved and require students to possess some degree of prior knowledge and skills, while others are relatively simple and can be accomplished with minimal prior knowledge and skills. In this article, the authors provide an inexpensive, multi-day STEM task that brings a local engineer into the classroom. This spaghetti structure challenge is multidisciplinary, integrating STEM disciplines with reading and writing literacy. The spaghetti structure challenge engages students in problem-solving strategies and structural design processes in science and engineering. Problem solving enables students to assume ownership and responsibility of the task. Problem solving is a form of both active learning and discovery learning--a combination of hands-on and minds-on education. In this example, the authors chose to describe the task to students as a challenge rather than a competition to emphasize the 3 "Cs"-- cooperation, communication, and creativity. However, the decision to introduce the task as a challenge or a competition rests with the classroom teacher and whether his or her students are motivated by in-classroom peer competitions.
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A