Hi teacher friends,
I’ve been busy creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Medieval Times & Middle Ages.. First stop, the Early Byzantine Empire!
Challenge 1: The Hagia Sophia Marble Run!
The famous Hagia Sophia church was built under the direction of Emperor Justinian I. During this time period, (395-1453) Justinian was the greatest emperor who directed the building of Hagia Sophia as the largest church in the world. Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral almost 1,000 years until the Seville Cathedral was built in 1520. Hagia Sophia was considered a world wonder during the medieval ages. It was an impressive architectural advancement during this time period.
The Hagia Sophia has a large 108 ft (102 ft in diameter) dome and two semi-domes. The two semi-domes give the main dome support. The original, central room of the Hagia Sophia is a rectangle that is 250 feet long and 220 feet wide.
Here’s the Hagia Sophia Marble Run STEM Challenge:
Using a list of supplies (scroll to the bottom of this post for more info) , students must design a Hagia Sophia structure that contains a marble run track. The goal of the stem challenge is to create a design that has the longest properly-functioning marble run track. The marble run can travel up, down, around, or inside the Hagia Sophia structure. Using planning pages (scroll to bottom), the Hagia Sophia model must have similar dimensions and structures from the actual floor plan. Students must shrink the dimensions but maintain the proper ratio. The structure cannot be taller than 2 feet. The center dome, half domes, apse, and aisles must be included in the design. After completing the projects, the students will measure their marble run with a ruler. The group with the most complex (longest) working marble run wins the challenge. Students have three days to complete this challenge!
Challenge 2: The Counter-Weight Trebuchet!
The counterweight trebuchet swings its arm using a heavy counter-weight to propel an object forward. An early written record of the counterweight trebuchet was documented by Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates, during the 12th century. The counterweight trebuchet is a lever combined with a sling.
Here’s the Counter-Weight Trebuchet STEM Challenge:
Using a list of STEM supplies (See bottom of the post), STEM teams must build a counterweight-style trebuchet. Using planning pages, students must include all the proper parts in their trebuchet model that can successfully swing its arm using a heavy counter-weight to propel an object forward. The goal is to create a trebuchet that can shoot an object into the air and travel a far distance. The group that can create the most effective trebuchet (launches the farthest) wins the challenge!