Wednesday, February 23, 2022

PLTW at Bryant, Winter 2022

 We have kicked off PLTW STEAM Learning at Bryant! First Grade has been studying light and sound and doing many investigations to help understand important ideas around these topics. We have explored how vibrations create sound by experimenting with tuning forks, rubber bands and cups, and metal water bottles to name a few items. Students have also explored how light behaves when it shines on different materials such as mirrors, and translucent, transparent, and opaque objects.  First graders will work in partners and use this knowledge of light and sound that they have acquired to build a device that will communicate over a long distance. 

First Graders also were inspired by the words of Dr. James E. West, co-creator of components of the modern microphone, and we took a look inside our flashlights and tried to figure out how they worked!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

 5th Grade: Building & Driving Robots

5th graders in Mr. Lusk and  Mr. Heaton's classes have pretty much finished building their robots and are now completing challenges moving blocks in order to improve their robot driving skills. This 5th grade robotics unit focuses on the real world problem of using robots to clean up nuclear waste. In this unit, we look at the real world example of what happened in 2011 with the destruction of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan as a result of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. 

After students build their robots and practice driving them by completing simple challenges,  we have a big class competition where students work together with another team to clean up the "nuclear waste". The team with the most points wins. 

 3rd grade: Studying Forces and Simple Machines

Third Graders are studying forces in this first PLTW unit and so far they have worked in small groups to build simple machines that include wheels and axles, inclined planes, levers and pulleys. They use VEX kits to build the machines. Their knowledge of forces and simple machines will help them build a compound machine to help solve the real world problem of rescuing a (plastic!) tiger out of a moat it fell in at the zoo! 

3rd graders working together to build their simple machines.

At the beginning of class, students have a warm-up question related to the science we are studying that day. They write for 2 minutes and then share their answer with their partner. 

Hard at work building!

Testing out their wheel and axle design. Can it carry a heavy or tall load?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

PLTW at Pattengill (21-22 School Year)


We have just wrapped up the PLTW session with 4th grade and Dr. Kimmey and Mrs. Embry's 5th grade classes. 

4th grade designed and built eggs that would prevent an egg from cracking when it hit a wall and they worked on computer programming in Scratch. (They still have their accounts so they can continue to work on any of their own coding projects throughout the year.)

5th graders worked on designing and building robots that would help humans with dangerous work. We pretended to clean up nuclear waste after we learned about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in 2011 and all the damage it had done, including destroying the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. We simulated a nuclear waste clean up with a class competition of robots working together to score team points. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Hi Families! 

You may be looking for some more ideas to keep your kids busy at this time. I know I am always looking for ideas for my own children. Check out the cool activities at the links below. There are tons of fun STEM activities to try and you can even incorporate writing. Have your kids write down a prediction/hypothesis about what they think will happen in the activity/experiment. After they see the results of the experiment, they can write down what happened and even draw pictures/diagrams and label them. 

Hang in there! You're doing great! 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Week of May 25th, 2020

This week, I am sharing a great book about coding, or computer programming, called How To Code A Sandcastle by Josh Funk. It does a great job explaining important ideas in coding and what it means to program a computer to do something. The computer in the book is a robot who helps the girl build a sandcastle. 

Here's a fun coding activity to try from that helps teach the idea that computers will only do what you tell them to do:
Code a Robot

1. In a fairly large space, put various objects around the area that act as obstacles that people have to move around. Have a start and end point. 
2. One person is the robot and the other is the programmer. (If you have more than two people playing, the programmers can get in a line and rotate giving directions.)
3. Programmer(s) give(s) directions to get the robot through the obstacle course without touching any of the obstacles. If an obstacle is touched, then the robot must start from the beginning. 
4. The programmer should only give one direction at a time. Example: "turn to the right and take a step" should be broken down into 2 separate steps: "turn to the right" and "take 1 step".

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Week of May 18th, 2020

The read-aloud this week helps students understand: What IS Science? Science includes so many things and this books shows that it is all around us. 

Science is everywhere and causes many amazing things-- including the very cool results in this activity where crystals form on an object hanging in a solution of borax and water. In this activity, they used pipe cleaners to form letters of the child's name and then hung them in the solution overnight. It does require some materials you may not ordinarily have around the house. I would like to try this with my own kids, but I will have to pick up some borax the next time I am out. Some people do, however, have this material in their households, so if you are one of those people, you may want to check this out!