Hands-on STEAM lesson at Brandeis

Ms. Savoy’s third-grade STEAM students learned about the difference between vertebrate and invertebrate as well as the significance of backbones/spinal columns in animals. Students created two identical organisms from play dough, inserting pipe cleaners in only one of them to represent the backbone.

They then stacked Jenga blocks on top of their creations and experienced firsthand that those with the spinal columns were able to support more weight and hence were stronger than the play dough creatures without backbones. Students used the results from their experiments to write an analysis that explained their observations.

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