Stem Play Dough Building Challenge

We had a visit from Mrs. Marshall our PPCD teacher today. She explained to us how important playdough is to her class. But she told us how expensive it is to buy all the playdough for her class. So she asked us to create a high quality play dough for her class. We will have to use chemical engineering to complete this challenge for her students. We will create a 30 hands presentations to show how we worked through the engineering design process to achieve this challenge. We reviewed engineering and technology. Then we watched two videos to add to our schema about chemistry and chemical engineering. video about chemistry video about chemical engineering
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We explored with play dough and other similar clays today. We had time to work with the play dough with cookie cutters, and rollers. We evaluated the doughs using properties of matter and described their characteristics using their 5 senses. Then we blogged about which ones we felt were the best and why.

We tested high and low quality play dough and wrote down their properties. We then made a rating scale for texture and usage using those properties.


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Next we worked on a test we could use to determine the quality scores for any play dough. This is our final test we will use throughout the rest of this project.

We then tested the high quality and low quality play dough using our Quality Test and determined what score they would receive.

Today for our STEM Lesson we continued to work on our driving question: How can we determine the quality of a play dough process and how do the play dough materials change when they are mixed together? Yesterday we worked on the quality section today we worked on the mixing materials and the properties of the mixtures. We looked at our materials and their properties first. Then we came up with rules for our tests.

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After that we started to conduct tests with different combinations of materials. Here is our results.
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Then we drew some conclusions about different combinations of materials. Then welooked at the engineering design process and worked on finishing the plan stage. We watched Mrs. Ganus make a low quality batch of play dough. We then recorded her steps in a flow map. We then brainstormed how to change the order of the process to make a higher quality play dough. Here is our plan.

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This morning we had a visit from a Chemical Engineer. She discussed all the different responsibilities that chemical engineers have. She also demonstrated for the kids a lot of everyday items that a chemical engineer would be responsible for making possible. Then she discussed their project and gave some advice.
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Today in our STEM lesson they all decided on a process for their first test of play dough.

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Then we walked around and observed every groups play dough and decided which process was the most successful.
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We examined it and looked at the areas is scored low. Then the groups decided how they could change the amount of materials that were added. We went back to our groups and have come up with a process with new amounts of materials to improve tomorrows batch.
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Today was our last of our STEM lesson. It was our improve batch of play dough. We had a chemical engineer and a Cannon mom come and give us some advice. Thanks to Mrs. Rosamond for the great advice. We took the advice and what we learned yesterday and mixed our second batch. I am happy to share that we had great success. All of our 2nd batches scored 4-6 with the 6 being the highest. We had some high quality play dough. Yeah!!!!!!
Today was our last day of play dough today. They did their last mix and then as a class they came up with a final recipe. They are all bringing home a small sample to showcase their engineering.
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