Outside the Box Day

NewsCheck

ASFS Students Think ‘Outside the Box’ to Solve Problems

Egg Drop
Arlington County firefighters helped students by dropping their egg carriers from the top of Tower 104.

Building a headlight; constructing a birdhouse or building a carrier to safely land an egg dropped from the top of a fire truck. These were some ofthe challenges that Arlington Science Focus School students faced during the annual “Think Outside the Box Day” on Wednesday.Outside the Box Day is a day when all of students work to solve an engineering challenge. Each grade level is presented with a different challenge, the criteria they will need to meet, and the materials they’ll be given to use. Each grade level had a different problem to solve, including building a birdhouse, a desktop organizer, a headlight and the ever-popular transport carrier that needs to safely transport an egg dropped from the top of a ladder truck.”As the students construct their solution, they often run into problems, but this is where they’ll do the most learning,” said Investigation Station teacher Stephanie Lin. “They use their problem-solving skills to overcome their obstacles and feel a sense of accomplishment when they do so. At the end, the students share their final products with each other and evaluate whether or not their solution solved the problem.”Students learn to use creative, critical thinking skills based onChildren’s Engineering which teachers use to integrate STEM education into elementary classrooms. Students are taught a systematic problem-solving procedure called the Technology Design Loop and use it to

Students create healdlights
ASFS fourth graders work to create a headlight from materials they were provided with.

help them solve engineering challenges. Students were excited to solve challenges and engage throughout the whole process. It encourages students to think creatively and to use critical thinking skills. Students are able to build their problem-solving skills as they encounter obstacles while solving the problem. And they are often working in groups, so they learn to work cooperatively with their classmates. “It also helps students feel confident and successful as they solve problems and also when they successfully complete the challenge,” said Lin.Lin hopes that her students remember the sense of accomplishment they felt when they solved their problem and continue to be willingto tackle the challenges in front of them. “I hope my students learn that sometimes, they will encounter problems. They might feel uncomfortable and frustrated at first, but if they persevere and continue to think of other ideas, that’s what matters.”She hopes that some students become interested in engineering and start thinking about it as a possible career.