Science learning continues all summer long–even on vacation! What destination is especially perfect for a summertime STEM challenge and learning on the go? The beach! When you head down the shore, plan ahead so your little scientists and engineers can build all vacation long!
A Summertime STEM Challenge
Summertime STEM challenges are an awesome way to build innovative thinking and doing it on the beach just makes it more fun.
Offer the kids (and adults) this sandy summertime STEM challenge: build a better sandcastle. With a few engineering tips, creating castles that rival the most artistic of sand masters is within reach this vacation!
Don’t make these two amateur mistakes:
- Inexperienced builders begin at the bottom and build to the top.
- You need dense and wet sand for stability and structure.
[Most professionals use giant 5 gallon buckets without bottoms to pile sand and soak it with water. This would be easy if you were going to the beach alone, but it is not realistic for your family already weighed down with regular beach gear.]
Build the best sandcastle EVER!
- Bring shovels (that won’t break) so you can build a giant pile of sand. Get the idea of building from the bottom up out of your mind. Start with a huge mound of sand and carve out your castle from the top down.
- Soak your sand pile with tons of water. The sand needs to be wet and it needs to be packed tightly. Building on the high tideline will ensure your castle won’t be washed away and you will be close enough to the water to get it to your sand pile.
- Dig your sand from the water’s edge. The very best sand makes an outline but not an indentation when you walk on it. The sand should be wet and dense and heavy.
- STEM engineers use everyday things in different ways. Begin shaping your pile using the tools you brought along like shovels, plastic knives, and paintbrushes to help carve and clean up your design.
- Found objects come in handy to finish off the castle by adding decorative elements. Add shells, kelp or seaweed, and mermaid purses for some pizzaz.