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Park Avenue engineers design a better play dough

on October 20, 2017

Two students score the performance of their play dough product on a usage test table.“I was proud of myself when I took turns with my friends scraping, measuring, mixing, and waiting for the clock,” read Jillian’s reflection of her participation in Ms. Melican’s STEM lab today.A student mixing play dough talks with team member.

Jillian is one of Mrs. Ramus second graders who worked on designing a high-quality play dough, following the steps of engineering design: asking, imagining, planning, creating and improving.

Four students work on their play dough improvement process.Students started with a low-quality play dough: gooey, too sticky, wet, messy, crumbly, can’t make a snake—were some of the qualifiers used in the students’ usage tests.Two students discuss their progress on their experiments. as a teacher loosk on.

Experimenting with different combinations of play-dough ingredients, the young engineers kept track of the changes they observed as they added or subtracted flour, water and salt. By adding the performance scores of their product through the testing, they arrived at the ideal play dough: the kind that passes “the snake test.”  

Jane's project reflection as quoted at the beginning of the storyAfter they completed the design process, students were asked to reflect on what made them proud about their contribution to their engineering team. 

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