Fifth grade students at Freedom Elementary launched cotton balls as far as 79 feet by building “mechanisms” with the guidance of high school students.

The fifth graders and their teachers recently collaborated with Bill DeMalade’s aerospace engineering class from Waynesville High School. The high school students explained the engineering process and allowed students to work in teams to construct a “mechanism” using only the supplies that were provided to launch a cotton ball as far as possible.  

After students completed their structures they were given the opportunity to test them in the hallways of Freedom and measure how far they could launch it. Fifth graders created everything from sling shots to catapults and were able to launch their cotton ball as far as 79 feet.

Fifth graders were asked what they enjoyed most about the activities and Christopher Scott replied, “I really liked that the older kids even came over to our school and that we were able to interact with them.”

Freedom teachers will use the foundations learned through this activity to expand on PBLs they will begin in the near future. The collaboration with the older students was a very positive event that allowed the younger students to get excited about the opportunities they could have in future years as well as being able to participate in hands-on cooperative learning.