Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fun with circuits

Every week as part of Genius Hour, we get out a different game or
toy for kids to experiment with. This week it was a set of Snap Circuits. By far the highlight of this afternoon was setting off the spinning propeller -- here it is about to fly!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What makes a wind-up toy work?

What is inside a wind-up toy? As part of our study of inventions, we carefully disassembled some wind-up toys to see what was inside and what we could learn about them.

We first examined how they moved, and made some predictions about what we would find inside.

Then we got out our screwdrivers and got to work.

We noted some of the simple machines we learned about  - almost every toy had wheels and axles, at least in the wind-up mechanism, whether they rolled or jumped or tottered, and all were held together with tiny screws.

We noted how the tiny gears fit together, and how several small parts came together to form a larger part that performed a function.

We recorded the steps we took to take it apart, and tried to draw and label what we observed.

I wonder if we will end up having a few toys created by the time we are done with this unit?

Monday, February 19, 2018

We *heart* art!

Working on a collaborative mural, the week before Valentine's day:

This is just the first of several layers that will be applied. All the classes were taking a shift and working to fill in any blank spaces. I can't wait to see the final product, but I kind of love it just like this!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Valentines Day!

Celebrating friendship and love, with old friends and new.
These silly glasses were PERFECT for this crew!

Thank you, parents, for all your contributions!

Simple Machines - Pulleys

Next, we investigated pulleys. How do they work? How can they help us?

Getting the pulley set up required some coordinated effort and team work.

Keeping the rope on the wheel was the hardest part!

The weights did seem easier to lift with he pulley than pulling them up by hand.

When they work right, it is a thing of beauty!

 And a lot of fun!

We ended with a race, pitting one team against another carrying a paper up and down the stairs in a relay, vs. clipping it onto a pulley. The pulley won by several seconds, but the Dragons reflected that while it was faster, and it made the work easier, the exercise of running up and down the stairs might be good for you, too.
We will keep a lookout for these simple machines in real life and see what else we can learn about them! 

Simple Machines - Wheels and axles

As part of our study of inventions, we learned some basics about simple machines. As usual, we started with an inquiry investigation - using just cups, can you make a moveable vehicle?

Here we are experimenting with what happens when you add wheels, but without axles to hold them together.

It did not take long to realize the cup "wheels" would roll right out from under the book "cars."
In no time, the Navigators and Dragons were collecting pencils to create axles, and before too long, a chassis was born!

An exciting week of learning culminated in a visit from the education department from the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University...