Summer is all about fun in the sun! Looking for ways to liven up your weekly summer routine? Pool Noodle STEM is an engaging activity for all age levels, and best of all- it’s cost friendly! I can’t wait to show you how to bring it to life this summer. It’s sure to be a neighborhood hit!
First, you’ll need to gather the necessary materials- pool noodles and tooth picks. You can certainly be environmentally friendly and reuse any old pool noodles you have that may be damaged. In this case, I purchased the “mega” pool noodles because I wanted to ensure extra durability for little hands.
I selected 3 different colors for variety, however one color would work just the same. Slice the noodles into 1” rings with a serrated knife until you have as many or as few as you need. To give you a better estimate of how many to prepare, I was able to have about 145 rings sliced from 3 pool noodles. This was the perfect number for my class of 22 students.
Pool Noodle Building
We took the materials outside to our outdoor classroom. I didn’t give my students many directions. While giving them clear and specific directions may sometimes be the key to success in a primary classroom, I usually do the opposite when it comes to STEM projects. I also find that using the word “challenge” sets my students up for failure. I opt for “project” instead. That definitely has more of a creative feel and less of a competitive nature.
Rather than telling my students to build the tallest tower using only the materials given in 35 minutes, my only directions were to build a structure using the materials given with no time or height requirements.
I was so impressed with the way they came together to create their own unique structure! While some groups focused on height, others relied solely on engineering the sturdiest design. One group even spent most of their time on the aesthetic, trying to build it to model a structure they already know of.
In some cases, the structure began to tilt to one side. This required students to either repair their design or come up with something new (my favorite aspect of STEM projects). My students were delighted by the way we came together as a group afterwards to compliment and discuss some of the things we saw (height, design, aesthetic, etc.) and ways we could improve for next time.
This was definitely one of my favorite warm weather activities I’ve done with my students. Even with all of the rebuilding, the pool noodle rings held their shape and could definitely be used again in the future. It’s incredible to watch kids as they enjoy the outdoors and engage in hands on activities! You should definitely give it a try!
Save it for later!