4th Graders went to the SteamWorks lab 11/28-30 to experience force and motion using Hot wheels. They had to take a car and then design a track that once the car left the track would travel the furthest. Some tried loops to get more momentum, some height, some jumps. They had to design, test, and redesign. Next they go to the computer lab to put the data into a spreadsheet, learn about averages, and create bar charts.
Another group of 4th graders had to come up with their own question to explore: Does the weight of the car have something to do with how far it will travel? Does the height at which the car starts change the distance? Do loops affect the results? They were only allowed to have 1 variable. They then changed their design to see what kinda of different results they got.
The Second Graders did a 3 week unit on Civil Engineering (Nov 4-18). They read a book about a little boy named Javier who wanted to build a bridge over a stream. They read and discussed vocabulary in class. By the time they came to the SteamWorks lab they could tell me what a span, pier, arch bridge, beam bridge and suspension bridge is. First we built bridges using index cards and paper and explored how piers worked and how their placement is important. Then we built a cross section of a bridge (again using index cards, paper and adding straws and paper clips) and applied a force (a hair dryer) to see how steady it was. By adding tie downs you could see how that strengthened the bridges. Next they built beam, deep beam, and arch bridges to see which was the strongest. Their final project was to design a bridge than can span 15" inches out of index cards, copy paper, tape, paper clips, straws, and/or Popsicle sticks. They came in with drawings and a supply list. They were given only the supplies on the list and given about 30 minutes to build it. Then they tested by sending a toy car across it. They finished by making any adjustments they needed and if they could justify it, they could ask for more materials but I don't think anyone did!
The third graders are learning how to make a slideshow/presentation using google docs. 4-5 students are in each group and all 4-5 can be in the same document at the same time editing it. They are learning how to change the font, the text size, the color, change the background color, add photos and clip art... The presentation they are creating is about a Utopia their group would like to live in - what are important jobs for people to have in a community in order to make the community successful. What landforms would you have nearby, what would recreation be like? What do people eat, where do they live... They did some research on natural resources and landforms and they discussed and agreed on what they wanted. It got silly at times like Pig City and Bunnyville. We tried to steer them into realistic worlds (they weren't allowed to have flying cars or anything else that isn't common place now) but some silliness couldn't be avoided. I wanted to teach them how to add video and photos so we went into the STEAMworks lab and had a MAKER hour where they could create anything that represents their Utopia - flags, maps, buildings... See the photos and a few videos below...Look for the final presentations to come!
Sample Video - Fat Cat City
First graders went to the STEAMworks lab on Halloween and made straw shooters to learn about force and flying. First they created a tiny paper straw like piece and put it on the end of a straw and blew. Nothing happened because the air went right through the creation. They learned you had to put an end to the piece of paper in order to have something to put force against (the push of their breath is the force). They learned about blowing softer and harder and how that affected the distance it flew, how you can't tape the object to the straw or it won't fly. How adding more paper to the shooter or adding excessive tape affects the distance. Good time had by all!
For 3 weeks the 1st graders have been going to the code.org website and learning about programming. They are learning the concept of sequencing as they "program" an angry bird to land on a pig. Week 4 we headed to the STEAMworks lab to program BeeBots. The bots have forward, backward, left & right on the bee's back. We created mats for them to roll around on. The students program the bots to go from one letter to another by inputing a sequence of directional commands. The younger students (PreK-1st) pretty much have to hold the bee and carry it along the path in order to experience it from the bee's perspective. As they get better at their lefts and rights and hopefully after doing this many times they might be able to stand on the side of the mat, not follow the path themselves, and visualize which way the bot has to turn - the bots' left and right, not theirs! Then as a 3-5th grader look at a grid on a piece of paper visualize the bee's path, write down a series of directional commands, then go to the bot, program it and test it.
ANYWAY, the kids just love making the bots do what they want them to do! Check out the video below.
The Kindergarten classes went into the STEAMworks lab the week of October 18th to work on shapes. They used K'nex to form the shapes they are studying. They talked about how many sides and if they were equal lengthed and how to convert one shape to another. Then they worked in pairs to see how many shapes they could make and connect into one creation.
My name is Anne Jarriel and I oversee the SteamWorks lab at Gullett Elementary. I'm blogging about what I see and lead in the STEAM lab which is mostly kids just having a great time!