STEM Sledding Challenge Brings Snow Day to Life in Florida
March 19, 2019 – The students at Bright Horizons at the Avenues in Jacksonville, Florida typically would not have the opportunity to go sledding, however their teachers took it upon themselves to change that.
"Sledding with STEM" was created by the early childhood educators at Bright Horizons at the Avenues so that the preschoolers could embark on a unique STEM challenge. This monthlong project inspired the children to use the scientific method to research, engineer, and even test their sleds on a special "Snow Day."
Through the research process, students discovered what sleds are used for, how they require the use of force and motion, and how their structures can vary. In the center’s new STEM lab, the students drew diagrams of their sleds before the engineering process began. When the designs were ready for construction, the classes used recyclable materials to build and decorate the sleds. Repurposing cardboard boxes, tape, rope, plastic tarps, bags, and foam, the children brought their plans to life in preparation for the upcoming Snow Day.
So that all of the students could experience a Snow Day in the sun, the center continued their annual tradition of bringing in three tons of "snow," and the preschoolers tested their sleds outside to observe which designs were better suited for riding downhill. The entire center joined in the fun, and the preschoolers determined that the bigger sleds were harder to push and pull. The students also learned about motion, discovering that when sliding from the incline, their sleds went faster.
"I am extremely proud of our teachers for their dedication to helping our students learn through this unique STEM project," said Melissa Bradley, Education Coordinator at the center. "By going above and beyond, they provided an unforgettable experience that sparked fun and also encouraged STEM learning."