Monday, December 19, 2022

 November/December 2022

We started PLTW classes with our second session of fifth graders and with our third graders. Third graders learn about forces and simple machines centered around a real world problem of a tiger falling into a moat at the zoo. They have to use the knowledge they acquire about gravity, pushes, pulls, magnets, and compound machines to help them build a device that will rescue the tiger. Fifth graders work to build a robot with electronic sensors, and they design and build additions to it. Although they follow a schematic to help them build the main chassis, they then make adjustments and additions to move cubes in several challenges in an effective and efficient manner. Below are some pictures of some of our work from both 3rd and 5th grade during the last couple of months. 

Photos from Third Grade

Tiger sketch in engineering notebook

Testing their tiger rescue design to see if it works

Using 3D software to build a simple machine

Building a pulley

Building a lever

Always collaborating in PLTW!

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Everyone has a role to play: parts, builder, quality control

Using SIOP strategies to share our ideas about science concepts--we write and we talk to a partner!

Evaluate: does our design work?

Fifth Grade Photos

Investigating with the testbed: how do the electronic sensors work and what do they do?

Building the robot

Checking the color sensor 

Building the robot 

Using 3d software to build the testbed

Communicating is key when trying to build!

Making adjustments to the robot so it can successfully move a block.

Robot competition-always a fun time!

So many pieces!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

PLTW at Pattengill, October 2022

5th Grade

Two classes of 5th graders have finished both of their robotics units. We ended the first unit with a robotics competition where teams worked together to earn the most points by moving colored blocks to their collection zones.  It was based on a real world problem of robots cleaning up nuclear waste released during the 2011 tsunami in Japan. We loved working in alliances with other teams, but we also liked some friendly competition to see which team earned the most points!

In the second robotics unit, students build a block coding program on the iPad and download the program through Bluetooth to their robot. Their robot can then move autonomously, without the use of a remote control. Students get a lot of practice measuring distances, converting lengths, trying one program to see if it works and fixing any bugs, or mistakes, in the program until the robot does exactly what the students want it to do. There is tons of collaboration among team members as they work out problems. 

Fifth Graders were also very fortunate to have a University of Michigan Professor of Robotics and Aerospace Engineering, Anouck Girard, come speak to them about what she does, why engineering is important, and what they can do if they are interested in working in those fields someday. She also brought in materials for a very fun activity where students built their own "brush bots" to practice their building and problem solving skills.  Students also built mazes for their motorized brush bots to try to make it through! 

4th Grade

Fourth graders learned how to block code in Scratch (locally on their Chromebooks, not web-based). they have learned about inputs and outputs, bits and bytes, and then used this knowledge when coding a game for someone to play in Scratch. With their creations, we saw how creative and what critical thinkers they are!!

Friday, September 30, 2022

PLTW at Pattengill, September 2022

    Fourth Grade: Students have been studying potential energy,  kinetic energy, and collisions in their physical science and engineering PLTW unit. They have worked as groups of 3-4 students to build a pendulum out of VEX kits and measure how long it takes the pendulum to stop from various heights. We take a look at this data and make a conclusion about what this means about potential and kinetic energy when objects are at different heights. Students also built very simple cars and let the roll from different heights on a ramp and then measured how far they rolled from each height. We also looked at this data to help us better understand potential and kinetic energy. Students have also been investigating the effects of collisions and will use all of this knowledge in upcoming classes about how to build a safe vehicle to protect their raw egg from cracking when they roll the car down a ramp and it collides with a wall. 

Fifth Grade: Students have been studying robotics and how robots are used to do the dull, dirty or dangerous work so that humans don't have to. They are also learning about inputs and outputs of machines. They have worked with a group to build a testbed that allows them to explore the electronic parts of our Robotics VEX kits before they build the robot. After they finish that task, they build their robot in an effort to complete our classroom robotics mock nuclear waste challenge. Based on the 2011 tsunami that occurred near Japan, students are tasked with building and modifying their robots to "clean up nuclear waste" (plastic cubes). In the coming weeks we will hold a class competition where robots work together to move the most "nuclear waste".

4th graders entering data into a Google form

Measuring distances cars rolled

Measuring distances cars rolled

Investigating collisions with varying amounts of potential energy

Working together as a group to build their pendulum

Working together as a group to build their pendulum

Working together to build their vehicle/simple car

After warm up question at the beginning of class, partners talk about what they wrote

Partner Sharing what they wrote in their warm ups

5th graders building their robot

Everyone has a different job--are you builder, building video controller, or parts person?

more teamwork

"Driver's Training"!! Practicing how to make the robot move how you want it to

working on the testbed to understand the electronic controls


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!