Hi teacher friends,
I’ve been busy creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Medieval Times & Middle Ages.. Next stop, the Islamic World!
Challenge 1: Caravan Contraption!
The Arabian Peninsula is desert land that lacks rivers and lakes. It has very hot and dry air. Travelers had to cross huge deserts with little water and scorching hot temperatures. The hot sun and dry weather makes this area one of the hottest places in the world.
Due to the difficult desert environment, people lived either of two ways. Some were nomads and lived a nomadic lifestyle, while others settled into town life near oases where they could farm.
Townspeople (sedentary life) lived in towns along the trade routes and oases. Many were merchants and craftsmen. Some traders worked together in groups, moving about while selling their goods. These were called caravans.
Here’s the Caravan Contraption STEM Challenge:
Using a list of supplies (scroll to the bottom of this post for more info), students must design a model of a caravan vehicle using simple machines. The STEM team must decide on 2 simple machines using planning pages and incorporate them into their design. Students must come up with at least 4 supplies that they will bring on their 30 day journey across the Arabian Peninsula. Students must also consider how they will protect their goods from robbers and how to preserve them from the harsh climate. The goal of this challenge is to create a vehicle that can be easily pulled through sand, properly carries and protects goods, and has 2 simple machines incorporated in it’s design. (more information at the bottom of the post!)
Challenge 2: Caravan Coding Game!
Designing an entire game is a large undertaking, but students can learn about the process during this STEM activity! Using their knowledge of traveling along the Arabian Peninsula and the dangers the players might face, they first must decide on their concept and the purpose of the game. What is the player of the game trying to achieve while playing? Who are the characters (heroes and villains), what are the obstacles, and what are the commands that the player uses to win the game?
Here’s the Caravan Coding Game STEM Challenge:
Students will work together to plan and design a game with characters, obstacles, and commands. The game must have an objective with a starting point and a finishing point. It is up to the group how detailed they would like their game to be. Once the board is put together, students will split into their two groups – the players and the programmers. The programmers will be in charge of developing the game – placing the obstacles, characters, and writing down the commands in the exact order that will allow the players to win the game. It is up to the programmers how difficult they want their game to be. The players will try to beat the game that the programmers created. Players must document the list of commands they tried during each attempt of beating the game. After they are successful, the players and programmers will switch roles so they each have a turn playing the game. The new programmers can now move the obstacles Students have 3 days to complete this challenge.
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