Northwest Students Float Their Ideas

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The floats of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade inspired a STEM activity in third grade classrooms at Northwest Elementary School. Students in Adrienne Hartung’s and Julie Kirschen’s classes built models of parade floats with balloons.

After reading “Balloons Over Broadway” by Melissa Sweet, watching video footage of the famed parade and studying simple machines in science, students got to work on their projects. Working in groups, they brainstormed ideas and planned out their designs before building. In addition to balloons, the young engineers had plastic and wooden sticks to support their floats which had to rise above a flat cardboard surface. 

The task incorporated problem-solving strategies as children overcame different challenges, such as the balloons popping when connecting the sticks, to successfully complete their floats. 

Completed floats included Mickey Mouse, a teddy bear, a snowman, an ice cream sundae and more. Ms. Hartung and Ms. Kirschen said that they were very impressed with the creativity of the students.