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Gordon ES Pumpkin Drop

Students protect pumpkins from 20 foot drop

Cameron, NC | October 31, 2019

A Pumpkin Protection Device (PPD)  is dropped from a 20 foot height.
A Pumpkin Protection Device (PPD) is dropped from a 20 foot height. | Photo: Gordon ES Staff

It’s the end of October. Pumpkin spice is in the air.  Students are excited about a particular holiday. What do you do?  At Gordon Elementary School, it’s obvious.  You combine a STEM activity that tests if teams of 4th and 5th students can use the Engineer Design Process to plan and construct a Pumpkin Protective Device (PPD) that protects a pumpkin from a 20-foot drop with a children’s storybook character parade that celebrates the love of reading and literacy.  Eighteen teams researched, designed, and created a PPD that was tested at a school wide presentation.  Each PPD was dropped from 20 feet to the concrete sidewalk below. Two pumpkins emerged from the PPD unscathed.  Successful teams are: The Pumpkin Pie Master Ninjas from Mrs. Jordan’s 4th grade class and Team Exotic Animal Group from Mr. Field's 5th grade class.

Gordon Elementary School’s STEM teacher Jennifer Lubba explained the Pumpkin Drop Engineering Challenge by saying, “My goal is to give all 4th and 5th grade students the opportunity to experience the EDP in an engaging way.  This challenge incorporates many STEM practices such as asking questions, planning and carrying out investigations, making sense of problems and preserving in solving them, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, and designing solutions. The Pumpkin Drop presentation offers the opportunity for our community stakeholders to come together to support the learning of our extraordinary engineers. I applaud the teams that were successful because they had to overcome major obstacles to include effectively collaborating and communicating in order to design a successful solution."

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