5th Graders engineer a potato mining device

5th Graders Engineer a Potato Mining Device

5th Graders in Mr. Branson’s science class took on an interesting engineering challenge this week. Using only popsicle sticks, a paper cup, rubber bands, paper clips and straws, the students were asked to create an extractor that could successfully obtain the largest sample possible from a raw potato – all within a 45 minute time frame.

The lesson was developed by NASA and meant to simulate the problem-solving skills needed to create tools to obtain core samples on other planets, moons, and asteroids. The fifth-graders are currently in the middle of their astronomy unit and will learn about the inner and outer solar system when they come back from break.

“The engineering challenge was meant to get the kids thinking about the difficulty of building something that can retrieve core samples, let alone samples on a distant object in space,” said Mr. Branson.

Potatoes today… asteroids tomorrow!