December 21, 2020 Academics

Club Invention Develops Young Engineers at Morningside STEM Elementary

Jennifer Fox leads Morningside STEMs Club Invention
Jennifer Fox leads Morningside STEMs Club Invention.

Creativity and STEM collide with the latest student experience at Morningside STEM Elementary. Club Invention, an after school club, brought students in grades TK-5 together to engineer robotic dogs and corresponding dog parks. This project embraced all the pillar elements of a Morningside STEM Elementary education.

Mrs. Jennifer Fox, a first-grade teacher at Morningside STEM Elementary, led the action-packed, open-ended projects. Mrs. Fox guided students to develop personalized robotic dogs and dog parks, while helping each student weave in the elements of STEM at an age-appropriate pace.

The students were able to correlate their learnings in Club Invention to real life, as demonstrated by student interaction and dialogue.

One fifth-grade student astutely pointed out the similarity between the dog’s motor and a car’s motor. The student’s father, a mechanic, first introduced his daughter to car engines and mechanics at home. This base knowledge further enhanced her learning experience at school and in Club Invention.

This hands-on, minds-on learning experience was made possible thanks to a grant secured by the Sioux City Public Schools Foundation through the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

A Quick Glance at the STEM Elements of the Project:

Science: Engineering a robotic dog is more than just wires and components. Our students were creating beloved pets! So, Mrs. Fox guided students to understand the animal-like correlation of their dogs’ robotic parts to the biological parts of a dog.

Technology: Students took a deep dive into their dogs’ technological aspects as they explored how the wires and components connected to build the working robots.

Engineering: All the problem solving and discovery of the project resulted in moving, barking animals, built by our young engineers.

Math: The dog park offered a deep dive into math skills as students took measurements and built size-appropriate dog parks for their robotic pets to enjoy.

The fun didn’t stop with STEM, though. The creative mastery demonstrated by students was exceptional. Each robotic dog has a unique fur coat made to fit just right and a personalized dog park design.

This project was a labor of love for the students and an impressionable learning experience sure to kick start a long-term interest in STEM fields.