Enchanted Challenges at James H. Boyd

Enchanted Challenges at James H. Boyd photo

Third grade students at James H. Boyd united their love of fairy tales with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during the last week of April.

The Fairy Tale Ball, organized by Boyd teacher Liz Held, had three different “enchanted” challenges for students to complete using teamwork and problem-solving skills. The third-grade class at Boyd recently wrapped up a unit on fairy tales, so each challenge revolved around a story they had studied.

At the first station, students built a house for the Three Little Pigs out of toothpicks. The house had to be at least six centimeters high, hold a 20-gram weight, and withstand the blowing of the big bad wolf, which was a small desk fan with ears.

A group of students’ house just barely withstood the blowing of the fan, and one third-grade girl encouraged her team-mates, saying “Let’s try again—we can do better than that!”

At the second station, students had to build a raft for the three Billy Goats Gruff out of straws and pipe cleaners that could hold the miniature goats and 10 grams for at least 10 seconds.

The third station challenged students to create a pulley system that could carry a 25 gram Rapunzel safely down from her Pringle can-tower, using no more than 3 meters of string.

Students worked together to successfully complete each task. Having to start over didn’t discourage them, and Mrs. Held noted that this event continued to enforce the skills and resilience they’re being taught in the classroom.

“They’re getting more and more used to by going back and trying things again, even if they fail,” Mrs. Held said. “If they can’t accomplish it during school hours they often take things home and keep trying until they succeed, which is an incredible thing.”

In addition to the STEM stations, students wore crowns they had made, and took photos in front of a green-screen castle with their classmates. A magical time was had by all!