Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2nd graders design and build dams

We learned about alternative energy sources and then we got to work building a dam for this engineering challenge.  The students were given clay and 10 popsicle sticks.  The goal was to build a dam that could hold water on one side of the box.  A couple of teams were able to build it strong enough the first time, but most teams had to redesign.  Some teams had to redesign a lot because their dam was super complicated. They challenged themselves to do something that was a little harder than what they thought they could do.  Way to go, Second Grade!

Houses with Kinder and 1st grade

Kindergarten and 1st grade worked hard to build creative, sturdy houses out of recyclable items.  Truly turning trash into treasure!  We studied structure and the importance of planning and starting with a strong base.  Then they were left to their own creativity!  They had to work as a team to build a free-standing house.  After they finished it was time for the big test day.  We tested the homes against earthquake (a pan of jello) and tornado (a fan).  If the houses collapsed, they rebuilt them stronger.  I'm so proud of their creativity, teamwork, and resilience!!

Toothpick Tower Challenge and 3rd grade

For this challenge, third graders were given toothpicks and clay.  They were challenged to build the tallest or most interesting tower they could.  This proved to be very hard!  There were many mistakes and many times they had to try it again.  Their resilience was amazing.  They got discouraged, but they never gave up.  In the end, they made some really cool things!!

3rd graders learn about kinetic energy with catapults

Third grade learned about kinetic and potential energy.  Then we put them to work with catapults!  We experimented with figuring out how to shoot a foam cube higher vs. farther; how to get the cube to go over an object; and how to try to make it land in a target.  It was a lot of fun!  Here are some photos of the process.

They are using their notes to build the perfect catapult!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fairy Tale Engineering

For this unit, we read classic fairy tales and then the students challenged themselves to build something from that would help one of the characters from that story.  For instance:  they built things that would help the man and the woman catch the gingerbread boy so he wouldn't get eaten by the fox; they built things that would help the bears protect their house from goldilocks coming in and destroying their stuff; they built things that would help the cow jump over the moon; etc.  I encourage you to do this type of thing with your child at home after you finish reading any story.  We used Legos and other building supplies in class, but you could use recyclable items or any type of building toy you have as well.  They are so super creative!!