Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5th graders are Transportation Engineers!

Our 5th grade Little Longhorns have been working on Transportation Engineering while they design a Maglev System.  In preparation for their design, they tested different magnets and recorded their results.  They determined the best ways to make this "floating" conveyor belt system for a fictional toy store in Japan.  The process taught them about life in Japan and what the school system is like there.  Some were shocked and amazed at the differences.  To make their system the students had to work in teams and share their testing results, share their ideas for a system, and problem solve solutions if the first try didn't work.  I'm really proud of their efforts and their end results!
Testing disc magnets for what we decided to call "repel-ability"

It's true magnets work even in water!

More tests with water and disc magnets.

He is explaining why those two magnets will not stay together.

One of the first ideas for a Maglev system.

Another Maglev System plan

I'm building it!  

Testing to see if their design worked!

Some ideas were more complex than others!

Their design worked!  Now for the test to see how many marbles it holds!

Can the magnets hold a load?

More testing!  Their system worked!

Putting the last touches on their system

First design did not work so they are off to find a way to fix it!

It works!!  It works!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1st grade as Materials Engineers!

1st grade has been learning about the best materials for creating a wall.  We analyzed different materials and discussed their "stickiness" factor as it related to keeping stones and tiles together.  We tested different materials and different combinations of materials to get the very best recipe for the mortar for our walls.  After we carefully built the walls in teams, we patiently waited for them to dry.  Then the big test day -- to see how they held up against the wrecking ball!  It was very exciting!
Materials Engineering is fun!

Getting a closer look.

Checking out the properties of dry materials.

Checking out the properties of wet materials.

Ultimate mortar test!

Mortar can be messy!

Future Engineers recording their results.

The Sticking Test - How did the mortar stay together?

The earthquake test!  How did the mortar hold up?

Here's our recipe for mortar and our plan!

Our plan for our wall!

Recipe for Mortar and the big plan for the wall!

Look at all these walls!!!

Wall creation in action!

Making walls is a bit messy!

Sometimes you have to get messy to get the job done!

Messy, but fun!

The big day -- the Wrecking Ball test!

Friday, April 10, 2015

2nd grade Math Pentathlon

Second grade Little Longhorns learned some of the Math Pentathlon games and practiced their tournament skills in the classroom.  From their site:  The Mathematics Pentathlon program encourages the use of strategic problem-solving games as an integral part of math instruction. This program aligns with numerous indicators of the National Standards that deal with Number Sense, Computation, Algebra and Functions, Geometry, Measurement, and Problem Solving. 
Plus they are fun!
Here are some photos of the process.  Next year they will learn more games.  If your child would like to participate in the central Texas tournament next Spring, let me know.  I can send you the registration information.  If you would like to head up a team from UTES, let me know and we can talk about how to make that happen!

3rd graders are aerospace engineers!

Our 3rd grade Little Longhorns have been busy studying some Aerospace Engineering concepts for the past several weeks.  They learned about properties of materials, drag, adapting creations to suit their environment, and how to work as a team to accomplish goals.  We followed the Engineering Design Process to discover the best canopy materials, canopy size, and suspension line length for parachutes.  They tested each category, collected the results (from both classes), and drew conclusions of what would work best.  Then it was time for the big build and test!  One of the parachutes caught the wind so well that it ended up in a nearby tree!

Ready to test so we can determine the best materials.
Ready to test canopy size, canopy material, and suspension line length!

Decorating parachutes is part of the fun!

These carefully planned parachutes also have an artistic flair!

She combined materials for a fantastic way to catch the wind!

The big class drop!

More of the class drop!

The class drop in mid air!

Class drop!

Ready, set, drop!