In October/November 3rd grade traded off building with the lego robotics kits and coding with the Puzzlets. With legos they chose a model to build, followed directions on the computer on how to build them, and then programmed their motors to turn on and off to make them move somehow. Puzzlets is a coding game that ties a plastic trays with directions to the characters on the iPad screen. The students "code" by deciding the order of directions for the character to move. (click on photos to see it all)
In November first graders went to the Steamworks lab to explore force and motion. One station was hot wheels where they figured out ways to make the car go further, stay on the track longer, make loop to loops... Then they built marble runs by taping paper towel rolls on the whiteboard and sending marbles through their creations. There was also a station to build marble runs with legos and with plastic tubes.
Second grade created runs using pool noodle type materials. We also had some really big cardboard tubes.
Both groups had a fantastic time!
4th Grade has been learning about spreadsheets, survey creation, and chart building. They learned how to create a survey using Google Forms. Everyone in the class filled out each other's survey so they could collect data. With this data a google spreadsheet was created and they made a bar and pie chart. Next they created a document and inserted the charts. All of this to help them create charts like this for the science fair in February.
4th Grade also went to the Steamworks lab to experience kinetic energy using hotwheels. They had to design a track that would make a car travel the furthest distance (click to see larger photo)
When the students came in we surveyed them to find out what they thought "technology" is? The overall consensus in all the classes was something that uses electricity. We then told them we were going to give each group of 2 a bag of technology. When they opened their lunch bag they found scissors, a tape dispenser, a clothes pin, a paper clip, a flash light, a computer mouse, headphones, ... We then talked about how they work, what they are made of, what we did without them before, and what design considerations had to be made.
2nd grade celebrated Dot Day last Friday making Dot drawings using Pixie on the Macs in the computer lab. They then recorded their voice talking about their artwork.
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!
Dot Day (click to see whole photos)
1st Grade Keva Plank Challenges (click on photo to see complete photo)
Kinder Lego Challenges (click to see whole photo)
3rd Grade Animal Challenge (click to see whole photo)
4th Grade Motor Challenge (click to see whole photo)
4th grade was given the challenge to create something that moved using a motor. They had to learn about axels, gears and pulleys. There was lots of design and redesign.
Great start to our year! Remember I can't post all the photos (you'd get bored quickly) HOWEVER all these photos and more will be available if you buy the yearbook. You will get to create 2 pages of your own and you can add these photos (and ones not pictured) on those pages! The sooner you buy it the cheaper it is ... sorry, I had to plug it!
So our dream of having a space where STEAM activiites can happen as the teachers dream them has come to life! We've had a fantastic year and we thank Austin Ed Fund for the grant we received a year ago. We couldn't have done what we did without that money and the space! Our plan was to have each grade do one major project in the lab but if you look back through the archives to the right you will see we did a lot! The kids loved it and we can't wait to dream up some more!
To culminate our year some students from the Ann Richards school came to get some live video and interviewed a few of our students for an Austin Ed Fund celebration. A few photos follow. We also spent our remaining balance on some magnetic building cubes. We bought them on request of our PreK students but there wasn't one grade of kids who came in the last weeks and went straight for them! Once again, THANK YOU AUSTIN ED FUND!
All the third graders spent over a month learning Scratch programming - a language developed by MIT. They learned how to create their own characters, backgrounds, sounds, etc. Then they took what they learned about biomes and created characters to tell their audience something about their different biomes. Part of the information was created the old fashion way on a poster board and some of it was displayed on a computer screen if you clicked the up, down, left or right arrow. Finally they connected the computers to Makey Makeys which turns everyday objects into a touchpad. So on the posterboards had metal strips such that when you touch them it initiated the computer programs the kids created. Below is an example. Holding the apple completes the circuit.
The proud coders got to display their work at the Art Extravaganza. Click to display larger photos.
Second graders did a great job creating stop motion videos of animal or plant life cycles. They researched, story boarded, created backgrounds and characters. They then used IPADS and an app to create their videos with music and credits. The final products were on display at the Art Extravaganza with QR codes in the hallways.
A few examples
Life cycle of a Pecan tree
Life cycle of a butterfly
Life cycle of a salamander
Life cycle of a frog
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!