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AA first graders engineer some tasty treats

First grader Cal Stotler, resident of Winter Berry, will help choose and name the winning flavor for the AA STEM project this month, partnering with the Bundt Shoppe in Castle Pines.  

     

Information and photo provided by American Academy

First grader Cal Stotler, resident of Winter Berry, will help choose and name the winning flavor for the AA STEM project this month, partnering with the Bundt Shoppe in Castle Pines.

When you hear the term “chemical engineering” you may think of test tubes, bubbly liquids in neon hues, or science geniuses in white lab coats. How about first graders in aprons with play dough and bundt cakes?

If you ask Chris Todd, first grade teacher at American Academy (AA), engineering isn’t just for science nerds anymore. On October 10, Mr. Todd will be taking his first grade STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students through a chemical engineering unit in which they will be required to work on project teams to design and create their product – in this case, play dough. The students will then test and improve that product based on layers of consumer feedback.

The important lesson Todd hopes students will take from this unit is the way real-world, everyday products are shaped by the engineering design process and that the things we see, eat, and use every day are created and shaped through this process. Says Todd, “Engineering is a very creative process, shaped and refined by specific factors, including functionality, appeal, and relevance of the end product. And you can apply that very deliberate process to so many things!”

It’s a fun unit to teach and even more fun to learn. Castle Pines business owner Pam Randall will show students the consumer side of the engineering design process. In October, Randall, who is a co-owner of The Bundt Shoppe in Castle Pines will be testing out three new Bundt cake flavors on the AA students for her store.

The students will use the engineering design process criteria to evaluate those flavors and choose a winner, which Randall will feature in her Castle Pines shop from October 21 to 31 for customers to enjoy in the 3″ bundtie size. Meanwhile, the AA students get to have their cake and eat it too and will also get to name the flavor!

American Academy is a Core Knowledge, K-8, public charter school with a special emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To learn more, visit www.americanacademyk8.org. For questions about the Bundt Shoppe event, contact Trish Cummings at 303-886-9463.

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