We opened the Steamworks lab this week for Kinder, 3rd, and 4th grade. Half of 1st grade went in last week and worked with Keva planks to build various structures by looking at a photo. The other half came this week and will finish next week. The final challenge was to be divided into groups of 4 and they had to try and build the tallest towers in 3 minutes. One class took the challenge past the 3 minute mark and built a tower taller than the shortest classmate!
The kindergarteners were given different "challenges" to build with legos: make some stairs, a chair, a window, and a flying machine. Then we got into partners to see who could build the tallest tower in 3 minutes. We learned that if you truly worked well with your partner your tower tended to be the taller. Those that each created their own and didn't work together didn't tend to have the tallest towers - TEAMwork rocks!
3rd grade was given the challenge to create a tower out of paper and index cards that could hold a stuffed animal 25cm high (the Houston Zoo was flooded!). An 8.5 X 11 piece of paper cost $100, large index cards $50, medium index cards $25 and small index cards $10. Taping to the table added $50 to the final cost (the rest of the tape was free! Thank you 3M for your generous donations!) Next week we will calculate the cost of everyone's tower, put it in a shared spreadsheet so we can see which class saved the most money and learn how to chart our results in a Google spreadsheet.
4th grade was given a motor powered by a usb cable. Using legos and scratch programming they had to create something that could be moved by motor power 4-6". Once they could do that, they had to program it so it stopped exactly on a particular spot. Then they had to place an unsecured lego character on their vehicle and stop on that spot without the character falling off during the process. This day was full of exploring and failing and redesigning. We didn't tell them anything about gears, or axels, they had to figure things out on their own. Next week we'll have samples of several designs, show them how to learn how to do it using the every faithful Google or YouTube and see what they come up with then. Stay Tuned!