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Third Grade STEM Challenge Aims High

2 boys and 2 girls holding balloons around a school deskWith items like googly eyes, paper towel tubes, popsicle sticks, pom poms, and more, third grade students at Somers Intermediate School created balloon inventions inspired by those seen at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

To get ready for this STEM-oriented challenge activity, students read Melissa Sweet’s “Balloons Over Broadway,” a history of famous parade puppeteer Tony Sarg. They then went to work creating their own designs with materials of their choice.

Boy holding red ballon decorated to be like a bunny“Students had to make a design that they thought would be durable,” said teacher Carmella Harris. “There was revising and improving upon their initial designs as they discovered what would work and what would not.”

The finished products included turkeys, lady bugs, an Easter bunny, caterpillars, marionettes, dragons, book characters, and even a model of teacher Mrs. Jacobellis.

Student Mia Klein designed a gnome for her STEM balloon using pipe cleaners, a red balloon, paper, a coffee filter, and pom poms.

“I thought of using a coffee filter for my balloon because it is in the shape of a hat,” Klein said. “This was a really fun activity.”

Students took their completed balloons outside and held their own parade on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Kids outside marching with their balloons