Optimum STEM Challenge Day
Fountain Lake’s 4th grade gifted and talented class, along with 110 4th grade gifted and talented students from Dawson co-op schools, participated in the Optimum STEM day, held at ASU Three Rivers College on Friday, January 27, 2023. Students worked in teams to build moon rovers out of pasta. The students were in cooperative teams composed of students from other schools rather than from their home district. The STEM challenge gave students the opportunity to work on both “soft skills” and STEM skills. Optimum awarded a $500 grant to pay for all the supplies, snacks, and prizes for the day.
After several fun icebreakers to help everyone get to know each other better, each team received a bag with lasagna, spaghetti noodles, and other basic supplies. They could also choose from ten other pasta shapes to enhance their design. When complete, teams tested their rovers on the Optimum ramp to see how far it would travel over different terrains. Prizes were awarded in five categories: team spirit, best use of resources, farthest traveling rover, overall design, and judges’ choice. Judges from ASUTR visited each team to hear students explain their moon rover rolling and engineering design process. Even though they were given the same supplies, each team designed a one-of-a-kind moon rover.