Building solar-powered ovens may sound like a complicated task for first-graders. But consider the payoff: Cookies.
Corry Broxterman’s first-graders put their engineering skills to the test on a cold Thursday morning, setting up their hand-made ovens outside Endhaven Elementary.
Endhaven is one of many schools starting early on building math, science and technology skills, and doing it in ways that involve teamwork and real-life results.
Five years ago, parents pitched in to get “Engineering is Elementary” kits in three Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Now Endhaven is among more than 30 schools using the hands-on, trial-and-error experiments for kids, according to Nancy Addison, the district’s STEM director.
Broxterman found a video demonstration of the simple solar ovens on an educators’ web site. The teamwork started with kids helping each other with the classroom iPads, she said.
They built reflective ovens out of small boxes, foil and construction paper, logging their efforts in scientific journals.
Thursday the class went outside with slices of cookie dough to see how the ovens worked.
After a couple of hours, the cookies were “kind of crispy on the outside,” Broxterman reported. “They all ate them. They all cooked a lot better than I would have guessed.”
The children took their ovens home. Parents be warned: Some were talking about baking pizza or -- yikes! -- chicken.
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