STEM Project in Year 6
This week, Year 6 have been engaged in a STEM project using K-nex. Firstly, we researched some of the rides at Port Aventura (as lots of the pupils have recently returned from a trip to Barcelona) looking closely at how the structures were made stronger by the addition of triangles to reinforce the tower's design. We thought about the type of ride that we would like to construct as a prototype to explore how these mechanisms work together. Next, we looked closely at how energy is transferred in these rides - considering gravity, potential energy and kinetic energy in how the rides move, spin and rock. Pupils were investigating how the motors, containing the chemical energy transfers to kinetic energy to allow the ride to move or spin.
We then looked at the science behind the rollercoaster and how it works. It was interesting to learn that as the car goes over the top and car gains speed, the gravitational potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy. As it travels to the top of another loop, kinetic energy is transferred back to gravitational potential energy. However, some of the energy is transferred to heat and sound energy.
Then came our opportunity to use some existing construction materials to make models by following exploded diagrams as our instructions. Through our construction phase, we learnt about the importance of using cams, gears and motors in order to transfer effectively throughout the ride - we built some of these cams with the individual pieces of K'NEX.
After our construction phase came our evaluation: we had a carousel to look at each others' build, analysing how the mechanisms worked and how we could iron out or fix any problems with the design. We also extended this to our parents, who were really impressed with our feats of engineering! Some parents gave advice on how we could fix some errors in our designs.