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!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Great Egg Drop

Over the years, we have learned about physics (without actually calling it out by name), insulators, drag, parachutes, etc.  All of this has come together for the Great Egg Drop!  I have to admit this is one of my favorite activities each year.  They are so creative and use all of the problem solving skills to work through this project.  It is fun for me to get to observe and guide.  Then finally it is the day of the Big Drop.  Some projects didn't work when we expected them to... others worked in spite of being very simple.  We learned together that sometimes the simplest thing works the best.  The students cheered each other on and consoled each other when things didn't work out so well.  Their SEL skills were hard at work as they showed support.  I'm super proud of them!  Here are some photos of the process and the Big Drop.