Friday, January 30, 2015

Science Week at UTES!

This week has been Science week at our school.  We have been enjoying the amazing speakers that have come to share different ways they use Science in their jobs or hobbies.  The whole school has gotten to participate in these cool presentations and hands on activities.  Thank so much to our incredible teachers who organized this, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Molinar!  I know it's a huge amount of work to pull of securing and scheduling these speakers, but they both did it without complaint and in a way that benefitted the whole school.  As if all of these speakers wasn't enough to celebrate science, we also had our science fair!  Mrs. Calvin was our fearless leader with that and pulled off a flawless exploration of the scientific method for our students.  We celebrated science with our families at Science Night where families could see all the projects and travel from room to room to explore STEAM related activities with their children.  Ms. Mangelsdorf headed up that effort in style!  It takes a village to pull off a week like this one!  I'm always inspired by the other teachers here at UTES and their dedication to our Little Longhorns.

Our speakers were so diverse and gave our students the opportunity to learn about so many different ways science impacts our world.  We learned from:

Jungle Jim
Sky Candy
Tamera Tate and Lightening Lab
Yo Yo Gal
Dowser Dan: Drought Prevention

Here are some pictures from the week:

Dowser Dan teaching us about water conservation

Dowser Dan and his turtle friend help us understand how we get our water from local lakes.

Yo Yo Gal shows us some tricks and explains the science behind how they work.

Yo Yo Gal demonstrates some tricks!

Yo Yo Gal teaches us how to do the tricks with our own yo yos.

Jungle Jim shows us a Chinese Water Dragon.

Jungle Jim shows us an albino frog!

He didn't really eat it, but that is the biggest scorpion we have ever seen!

We learned how electrons work with the Lightening Lab.

Static electricity is funny!

We had so much fun watching the electrons do their thing!

The electrons even light up the light!

We learned that the "lightening" that we see is really plasma - cool!

Sky Candy showed us how science impacts the way we exercise.

Sky Candy has such a cool studio!

Friday, January 23, 2015

2nd grade learns to code with Lego WeDo Robotics

Second grade has been hard at work with Robotics.  They are using the Lego WeDo Robotics materials for this unit.  They worked with a partner to build their robots and then program them to complete a challenge.  They learned how to sequence steps in solving problems; how to find that one small piece that is making the whole thing not work; how to have tenacity to keep going even when they are stuck and frustrated; how to work as a team and collaborate on a weeks-long project; and how to celebrate each other's accomplishments with building and programming.  I am so proud of all of their hard work with this project!  Next year as 3rd graders they will work with these same kits, but at a much harder level.  I think they are ready!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kindergarten as Mechanical Engineers!

You will finally see how all those milk cartons we have been collecting are going to be used!
These 44 milk cartons are ready to become windmills!

This unit started out with reading a story to set up our problem.  We learned of two cousins in Denmark who were looking for a way to build a windmill that would lift something out of a pond.  Through lots of investigation we discovered how to best "capture the wind" using various materials.  The students first built sails and we tested them on a sail track.  We learned about material, size, angle, and sturdiness when making best use of the wind energy.  Sometimes it took several tries to get it right!  When we found a certain material that worked best or a type of construction that seemed to work, the students shared their findings.  We were then ready to construct our windmills!

A collection of sails
Sail testing day! It's hard to see, but the track is made of fishing wire.

The first sail to be tested!

A totally different type of sail to be tested

Students look on to see if their sail can move across the track!

Windmill testing day!

Windmill testing day!