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Don't squash the squash

Students test engineering abilities with pumpkins

Posted: November 27, 2012 - 2:39pm
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Annie Neva, left, and Sarae Embree couldn't help but laugh, even though their pumpkin held by Mrs. Zierden didn't survive a fall inside the protective enclosure the students built. Groups of first graders at Eagle View were charged with creating something to help a pumpkin survive a fall; the creations were tested Friday, Nov. 2, behind the school. Photo by Kate Perkins
Annie Neva, left, and Sarae Embree couldn't help but laugh, even though their pumpkin held by Mrs. Zierden didn't survive a fall inside the protective enclosure the students built. Groups of first graders at Eagle View were charged with creating something to help a pumpkin survive a fall; the creations were tested Friday, Nov. 2, behind the school. Photo by Kate Perkins

Eagle View Elementary School first-graders diligently wrapped 30 pumpkins in various protective materials in hopes of making them survive a drop of about six feet Friday, Nov. 2.

Sounds of cheering were loud when the pumpkins survived the fall, and equally audible “awwwws” mixed with laughter were heard amongst the crowd of first-graders and parents when the pumpkins didn’t make it.

Pumpkin engineering is one of four engineering units first-grade students will complete this year at Eagle View. Students created the protective shells in groups, then recorded the progress of other teams and how their pumpkins fared.

The project consisted of a five-day process involving investigation, brainstorming, planning, creating and testing.

The most common materials used in the process were balloons and packing peanuts, though some other groups used Styrofoam bases, shredded paper and paper towel tubes.

Students looking on recorded the progress of other groups, marking the level of damage that other groups’ pumpkins sustained. After the testing, teachers planned to discuss with their classes what the students did well and what they might have done differently.

Great River Gardens in Aitkin donated the pumpkins; Wild Daisy and Celtic Cottage in Pequot Lakes donated packing materials for the project.

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