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4th Grade STEM Challenge: Construct Shoebox Circuit Houses

4th Grade STEM Challenge: Construct Shoebox Circuit Houses

Mrs. Pruett’s 4th grade students began the new year learning about the Atom Electron Theory and applied their learning as they diagrammed the subatomic particles of atoms. They participated in a static electricity lab and realized that static electricity is created by the piling up of electrons on a surface. Students then discovered that electrons can also flow as electric current.

Once students understood that electricity could flow, student STEM groups collaborated, experimenting with various strategies to create simple circuits to successfully power light bulbs, using batteries, wires, and low voltage mini light bulbs.

Next, students learned about the differences between series and parallel circuits and were given time on the online circuit simulator to practice wiring each type of circuit.  Students took that knowledge and used their circuit kits to wire up lights on each type of circuit. Finally, students applied their knowledge of wiring in a switch to control the flow of electricity in their circuits.

4th grade students were knowledgeable and ready to use their new skills on their unit project: Shoebox Circuit Houses. Students worked with a partner to plan a circuit blueprint to guide them to successfully wire a room in a house with three operating lights. The project criteria required the application of the information and skills that each student learned throughout the unit.  Once the electrical circuits were complete, each student collaborated with their partner to creatively furnish the room with recycled materials.

Finally, the fourth graders shared their knowledge and final STEM projects, circuit houses, with their kindergarten buddies. This was a great way for our students to build connections across grade levels, share their learning, and their love of science!