Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up Week 3: 4-H STEM, Percentages, and Green Belts

We had our first 4-H meeting of the new year this week.  Since I wasn't sure how many kids we'd have in attendance or how long the business portion of the meeting would take, I had to plan a fairly flexible activity.  We had to pick officers and I was ready to go over all the safety rules and basics of 4-H if we had a bunch of new kids.  

I decided to go with Balloon Towers!  This STEM challenge involved building the largest tower using balloons and masking tape.  I had a TON of green balloons left over from Fair (since we ended up not doing the vinegar/baking soda balloons after the first day) and multiple rolls of tape from last year.  The only prep was blowing up a LOT of balloons, but Daddy was a big help with that.

Each group was given a dozen balloons and a roll of tape to start with.  As they used up the available balloons (or popped them), we blew up more.    Prior to starting, we had discussed what the sturdiest shapes were for towers (pyramids), what issues they would have with balloons that they might  not have with other materials (they are so light that a breeze would cause them to move around).  They were allowed to tape the balloons to the floor and to each other but not to any furniture or walls.

Each team worked with a different strategy - setting up grids or wide bases or just starting to pile balloons on top of each other in a straight line.  Surprisingly, the team with the tallest tower - 76 inches - was Vicki's and they were the ones who just started stacking balloons in a straight line, then went back and built a base around it.   I was very surprised by how high they were able to get their straight tower of balloons.

Sorry for the crappy pictures, I forgot my camera and my phone is the WORST for taking pictures.

The winning tower....

Squidy's team's tower....

And the second place tower, only a couple inches shorter than Vicki's group.

Also happening this week - the kids had a belt  test in Tai Kwan Do and received their Green belts.  They've been enjoying TKD and it's great exercise.  We can go up to 6 times a week when it fits into our schedule.

We also did some school this week. :-)
Vicki finished up the last of Math Mammoth 3B and started 4A.  
Squidy is struggling a little bit with figuring out percentages so I pulled out some manipulatives I bought over the summer and he sat playing with them for a little while.  I also wrote out some hints on how to tell what word problems are asking:
What is x% of y - you want to multiple x times y
x is what % of y - you want to divide x by y
Having it spelled out helped but we'll continue to go over it as we move on. 
Once he goes through ratios (which he finds "super easy" so far), he'll be ready to move onto 6A.


  1. I love the balloon towers. They are great. What a fun activity.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Loving those balloon towers! Great job at earning those green belts!!