GATES Family Newsletter
Happy New Year!
Welcome back everyone. We've been busy, busy!!
We jumped right back into our GATES routines, wrapping up prior projects and starting new ones. Here's what we've been up to..
Second graders began the six weeks learning how to research the many different types of engineers. Each student was given a specific engineer and they were to find interesting facts about that profession. Examples include: civil engineer, biomedical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, etc. Students then presented their data to the class. Their research skills are coming along nicely.
Then we jumped right into STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) challenges. Students are presented with the challenge and they are to design a plan according to the Engineering Design Process. They then collaborate with their group to create the perfect plan, and after some test time they are allowed to make improvements. It's amazing to see what they come up with!
Challenge: Create the tallest free-standing structure using spaghetti and marshmallows
Third graders are headed toward a huge architecture project. We've already begun by observing different structures around the world and choosing one to research. We are learning how to gather information using accurate websites in hopes of finding interesting facts about our structures. At some point this unit will lead students to create their own structure using their own design! (More details to come.)
Here we are deep in thought..
But before this big unit we focused on collaboration with an emphasis on problem-solving and creativity. One of our challenges was to design and plan a structure that will hold different amounts of weight. Students were first given a budget. Then they were to design a plan, predict the correct amount of materials, write up a purchase order, and buy only the materials they thought were necessary. After some work time they were given a bonus, which allowed them to purchase more materials (this was the improve stage of the Engineering Design Process). Another fun but tough challenge!
Challenge: Design the tallest structure possible that can bear weight. Use a purchase order to obtain materials.
Fourth graders have been exploring ancient civilizations in order to create a model of an actual amusement park. First we analyzed actual parks and noted - What makes them successful? It was eye-opening as we realized we can't leave out the small details like benches and rest rooms!
Then each student selected, researched, and gathered information over two civilizations. After much deliberation they eventually narrowed it down to one. Since we can't include ALL the civilizations in the class amusement park students wrote me a letter defending their choices and explained why their civilization should be included in the model. They were very convincing!
Now we are preparing a digital presentation to be shared with the class in hopes of convincing others to vote for their chosen civilization. I wonder which ones will get selected?
Fifth graders spent much of the six weeks on the Robotic Arm Challenge. They were to come up with a removal system of "space Junk", which is all the debris floating around in space.
Criteria: Design a prototype that extends at least 18 inches from your hand. You will obtain items using a purchase order and can only use items from the designated list. You have a budget of $70.00, no bartering.
Here they are in the creation process..