Wow! We’ve been busy! Students are already enthusiastic about the variety of fun, engaging, hands-on activities they get to experience each day. Each student is assigned a specific homeroom teacher. Students begin and end their days with their homeroom class. On some days, students rotate to experience a new activity with one of the other Inventions and Engineering teachers. Over the course of the 2½ weeks, all students will work with each of the teachers and experience a variety of activities and challenges. By the end of the week, students will have rotated through our four classrooms and explored, problem solved, and created in four different activities:
1. Students were challenged by Mrs. Lyttle to create cause-and-effect contraptions based off of the work of Rube Goldberg. Goldberg’s contraptions were made using an elaborate set of arms, wheels, gears, handles, cups and rods, and they were put in motion by balls, dominoes, and other things. These contraptions take a simple task and make it extraordinarily complicated. Students had to use their previous knowledge of simple machines as well as utilize their creativity to work in small groups and as a class to create a cause and effect chain reaction. This is a very fun activity that gets students thinking, planning, building, and creating together.
2. Mr. Pluim led the students to construct their own amusement park rides with many different materials. This activity challenged students to apply their knowledge of simple machines as well as to practice building a model of something and testing how it works. After testing their models, students were also encouraged to make their rides better. This is an important part of the engineering process, to test, and to fix and make better.
3. Students explored sound with musical instruments with Mrs. Leiser. After learning a little about sound, students used the Engineering Design Process to create musical instruments. The key ideas of the Engineering Design Process are Explore, Design, Create, Try It Out, and Make It Better. Students made an ear harp, a sound sandwich, and shakers, and were encouraged to experiment with pitch for all instruments.
4. Mrs. Pluim led students in 2 main tasks. First, students were exposed to all of the different types and categories of engineering—from electrical engineers to environmental engineers, civil engineers to biomedical engineers—students now know there are many ways to apply their excitement for the design process! Second, we spent time learning about wind as a renewable energy source. After discovering how one inventor made improvements to wind turbines, we constructed our own models of wind turbines. Students were then encouraged to test the model and think about how they could make it better.
Reminders: Tomorrow, THURSDAY, is both an extended day (8:00am-2:30pm) and a field trip day for all students. Students must wear their Summer Academy T-shirt. Students will receive a bag lunch from school, and we will eat at school before/after our field trip. Part of the day Thursday will be spent at The Bakken museum and part of the day we will start discussing our inventions project. Please be on the lookout for a note that will be coming home on Thursday explaining this important project to you!