Fourth graders used their ingenuity to help lead a turkey to safety in a Thanksgiving-themed engineering activity at Newbridge Road Elementary School.
On Nov. 24, students in Dawn Teti’s class read “How to Catch a Turkey” by Adam Wallace, then built catapults to help the fictitious turkey escape. Each student received a limited amount of supplies including craft sticks, rubber bands, two spoons and tape.
The young engineers had to think like professionals by planning and sketching their designs before building. They could only use the materials that were provided, so tapping into their critical thinking and problem-solving skills were a must to have success. Students also used their knowledge from a science unit on simple machines earlier in the year.
Once their catapults were constructed, students began testing them out. Each child taped a paper turkey to a penny to launch. Ms. Teti said if the turkeys didn’t go very far, then go back and refine their catapults. For example, each student had a light plastic spoon and a heavy plastic spoon, so they were encouraged to explore different ways to use the provided materials.