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Creature Catchers

   Third grade recently completed a STEM/Language Arts activity called "creature catchers." Mrs. Riland, Mrs. Border, and Mrs. Dyba provided each student with pipe cleaners and string.  The students were instructed to create a catcher that would hold the most creatures when it was lifted above their desks.  The catcher had to be the size of the sheet of paper that was provided.  The catchers were given points according to the amount of critters they were able to lift. During the creation of the project, students needed to consider the properties of geometric shapes, the mass of the critters, and the area, and perimeter of the paper.  After the initial round, students either worked in pairs to create a catcher with the addition of a coffee filter and more string, or they reworked their current catcher with no additional materials.   After the catchers were completed and judged, students wrote about the experience and discussed what characteristics a good critter catcher shared.  In addition to the writing, students will be reading nonfiction articles on spiders and comparing their catchers to a spider web.  The students really enjoyed this hands-on experience.