Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Force and Motion

We began our science curriculum with a force and motion unit. After attending STEM TQ this summer, a two-week long teacher workshop involving STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) practices, I was really motivated to bring a lot of the things I learned into the classroom. One way of doing that was to bring a lot of design challenges where students are designing, building, engineering, and so forth.

This unit began with an iSlide experiment, learning a lot about push and pull, as well as an experiment involving ramps, different surfaces, and toy cars to determine speed and how the different surface types affect the motion of the toy car.

We have since then moved on to one of our design challenges, designing a balloon car. Each group could only "spend" $15 on supplies and had two days to create a design and execute the plan.

Many students planned and designed and quickly learned that their balloon cars failed. Only three out of six balloon cars moved a distance of more than zero inches. Unfortunately, we did have to stop our design challenge time so that we could discuss (and revisit) our norms of collaboration and teamwork. Hopefully, our redesign of this challenge will prove to be more successful than 50%.

The first car moved a total of 155 inches, and it probably would have gone even further if it had not run into the chair (another lesson learned). However, this car definitely will need a redesign because it did not use a balloon! :)

The second and third balloon cars didn't go quite as far, but any movement was a success this round! Hopefully, these two groups will redesign their balloon cars for further movement!

Look for our redesigns in a following post!

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