The American Precision Museum, in collaboration with SparkShop, has developed a series of kits that give 4th to 6th -grade students a hands-on introduction to Manufacturing,
STEM, and Design.
These lessons expose students to dynamic, engaging challenges designed to encourage critical thinking and translate to real-world problem-solving. Each curriculum begins with a brief history of local manufacturing before guiding students through small, achievable challenges that reinforce the kit’s central theme, such as the construction of a model waterwheel, a catapult, or a working circuit.
The curricula also encourage students to draw their own conclusions about the consequences of the activities. For example, the Achieving Repeatability kit asks participants to carefully consider the “best” way to draw a circle after they’ve assembled and tested six different methods. The kits emphasize the importance of student innovation and creativity by encouraging students to build or modify their constructions and asking them to design their own version of an earlier concept, such as one unit which helps students design and build their own tessellations. Finally, all the lessons conclude by tying the ideas introduced in the unit to real-world careers.
The kits and their accompanying curricula are designed to be easily adaptable to remote, in-person, and hybrid teaching environments, and they’re aligned with CCSS ELA Literacy and NGSS Physical Sciences. Because each lesson is divided into a series of approachable segments, the time required for each box is extremely flexible; curricula can be completed all at once or over the course of several sessions. All of the kits are completely free (while supplies last), thanks to generous grants.
Sample Hands-On Projects
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