Summer Academy STEAM 3-5

Week 1

Survivor Theme

This summer we have an exciting theme....Survivor! Students will be learning important skills that will help them survive in the wilderness. Students will be using the engineering design process to help them with various challenges.

Design Process

Students learned about the engineering design process this week. Each student uses an engineering notebook to document and record their observations and each of the steps in the design process for every survival challenge. We encouraged students to redesign their prototypes to make improvements to their original model. After students redesign and build their models, they test, evaluate and share their solutions with their classmates. Students will also be documenting their skills by using the site PLearning. Students can access this site at home and show you their videos, pictures, and thinking! Use the link, PLearning, and have students sign in with their Tustin or summer login and password.

Rocket Zip Lines

One of students challenges this week was to build a rocket zip line using construction paper, a balloon, a straw and tape. The goal was to build a rocket that would run along a fishing line the furthest and the fastest. Students worked with a partner to create a rocket. Each class tested their rocket along a zip line in the classroom and outside. See the kids in action below.

Wilderness Shelters

Students learned about different types of shelters that could be used in the wilderness to protect themselves from elements such as wind, heat, and water. They researched several shelters and built prototypes of four different types of shelters. Students worked with a partner to come up with a design for each and used various materials to build their prototypes. They tested their models to see if each could withstand wind, rain, and heat. Take a look at them in action below.


Students learned various ways of how to navigate through the wilderness. They researched such various ways as using magnetism (using a compass), geographical land forms, longitude/ latitude, and maps. With this knowledge, students designed their own working compasses, navigated through an orienteering obstacle course, and created maps to guide others through a hidden treasure course!

First Aid and Food

Students this week learned about how to survive in the wilderness with the natural resources around them. This included various plants that could assist with their medical needs and how to make a simple splint for a broken bone. They also learned how to make a simple trap, to capture a cricket for their meal. In our classroom, the "cricket" was a Hexbug and their simple traps consisted of everyday items we had around. We then took our meal and cooked it in a Pringles can solar oven.