STEM Students Design Life Jackets to Save a Sinking Barbie!


STEM students to the rescue!  Tracy Iammartino‘s eighth graders recently participated in a fun activity where they had to design (and re-design!) life jackets in order to save Barbie!   The idea came from a lesson included in a book published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).  The lesson called for the use of toy soldiers, but Iammartino and her teaching partner, Marisa Nokes, took a bit more authentic approach. They chose to save Barbie! They filled the dolls with sand and created graphic organizers in Google Docs so that students could document their design journey.

The lesson concluded with a 3-2-1 reflection: 3 facts they learned, 2 ways they worked well together, and 1 question they still have.

Iammartino added, “Students were extremely engaged.  We started with having them do internet research to help them understand the various types of flotation devices.  Students had fun and this activity really helped me understand where their density misconceptions were.  I also gained much information about student ideas on measurement.”  Great work Ms. Iammartino and students!