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November 3, 2017 at 10:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What’s in the box?

Model & Design

Glad you asked.  To find out you’ll need to use your sense of hearing to aid in the critical thinking process to form a judgment.  I will tell you there is  marble, which serves as the metal detector.  Since we cannot see what is inside, the marble will aid in how it hits the inside walls and corners of the box.  There is definitely something in their and it is different for each of the boxes labeled A-D.  Students had 10 minutes to manipulate their designated box independently while also taking notes and creating an illustration.  For the next 10 minutes they selected a partner to repeat the prior steps and share their thoughts and design methods, after which we collected back as a whole to share our perceived designs.  The point?  To get our thinkers thinking.  To perceive and infer without knowing for sure.  We are building on background knowledge; what we know of marbles when they hit a surface,  why/how the sound is different in certain portions of the box, what things there could be to soften or cushion a sound, etc.

Model & Design 2

This activity also served as a precursor to the next event . . .  The Cardboard Challenge.  In honor of my mother for bringing home boxes upon boxes for my sister and I to design forts, castles, body armor, etc.  This one was for you mom.  Kids could work in partners or solo.

Here are the stipulations:

  1. Students had to have a design in mind of something to build, anything of interest, and sketched into their journal.
  2. Also to be included: step by step instructions of how to piece their creation together.  This could be done in picture form and/or written expression. – Thing Lego Booklet
  3. A material list was required (cardboard and tape were provided, anything else they needed to bring in) – No Glue.  We did loop a video of the art teacher demonstrating cutting techniques to interlock pieces and had flyers for them to refer to as well.
  4. Students needed to have measurements made for the scale of their design.
  5. Last the number of pieces needed.

There is a reason it is called a challenge.  Students were given four weeks, spending a minimum of 5 minutes per day on the design process.  Some spent more time and gave more effort than others (which showed in the final outcome), and some took notes at home to paste into their journals.  On the day of the event each grade level (3rd-5th) were given two hours to construct (1:45 to build, 15 minutes to clean up).  They brought their journals in to refer to their designs and then went into controlled chaos mode.  Students that did not finish their plans by the due date were stationed in the computer lab to complete, then joined their class to construct after finalizing their designs.  Yes that put them at a disadvantage, but a life lesson to learn from.

Here is what they came up with on the day of the challenge.

Moving on . . . we have third graders taking their knowledge of the moon and expounding on it, as they develop a lunar craft able to land on such a rocky surface.  Day one was planning a design much similar to the cardboard challenge, in which their craft was engineered to hold the two astronauts (large marshmallows) and land upright.  The baseline of success was at a one foot height, then increasing one foot each time.  Watch the clips to see the outcomes.

 

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Side Note:  5.P.2.2 Compare the weight of an object to the sum of the weight of its parts before and after an interaction.

Our group lesson consisted of us measuring the weight of a graduated cylinder consisting in volume of 250mL of uncooked rice.  Then were weighed the rice again, only in parts of 50 mL, then adding up to see if we were close if not the same as the total weight.  Wouldn’t you know we were off by 2 grams.  We discussed what variables could have influenced this.  The two ideas that popped out were maybe a grain dropped or perhaps we were not looking directly ahead at the needle when weighing each group of 50 mL.  As a follow up the kids broke out into teams and weighed the sum of a flashlight and recorded their data.  Next the took apart the flashlight to weigh each part; the seal ring, the battery container, the light.  After weighing and recording, they compared their results to the original.  5/6 groups had the same weight for the whole flashlight as compared to the sum of the individual parts.  The 1/6 was off by 2.5 grams.  Where they got 0.5?  We’ll revisit this one for sure.  This would be a great activity to conduct at home with Legos.

You can of course check us out anytime on twitter @MrVantaztic.  Our twitter account is linked to our blog (found at the right side of the post).  Remember to hover over any of the pictures to read the captions.  Thanks for reading and subscribing.  You can also check out the newer STEAM blog (working on a sharper look) https://vantazticlearning.wordpress.com/

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Erosion Engineering

January 29, 2017 at 9:00 am (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Alright stop!   Collaborate and listen.  The Little V’s are back with a brand new invention.  Vantaztic Learning has some mad skills on the mic, but even I can’t touch the brilliance that came from these young problem-solvers.  Your mind will be blown back to the 90’s to when we thought this track was solid,

Image result for vanilla ice 90s

as you listen to these clever devils collaborate.  See the thought process unfold for yourself as the scientists explain how their prototypes will slow beach erosion.

Makerspaces Engineering Erosion Project

Some background info for our readers:  The kids spent a day to design a blueprint of how their idea would look and created a write up of how it works.

Makerspaces Engineering

Day two (this day) was focused on creation of their sketch.  Next week they will test their project to see if it does in fact work, and if for some reason not, back to the drawing board.  For our fourth event day, we’ve invited a couple of professionals from our local community with background knowledge and first hand experience in beach renourishment to visit and listen to the students as they present their ideas, discuss the successes and drawbacks of the pretesting, and share their improvements.  Suppose we’ll have to wait to add more until testing and discussion take place, so for now . . . hit the hi-hat.  Word to your mother.

Makerspaces Engineering
Makerspaces Engineering

 

Makerspaces Engineering

We’re back and ready to share what worked and what needed modifications.  Our guest shall be here at the end of the month.  Enjoy, we’ll back after this paid programming announcement.

Erosion Wave Model

 

Engineering a Way to Slow Erosion
Wave Erosion Testing

2/23/17 Mr. Rudolph, “Rudi”, stopped in to listen to the young minds share their ideas and models to prevent beach erosion.  Mr. Rudi works for the Carteret County Shoreline Protection in Emerald Isle, NC.  He shared how to combat the erosion issue with the method Carteret County uses, dredging sand onto the beaches.  Fun Fact:  Sand is classified as sand if it is between 1/16-2 mm in size, any larger and it is mud, and then gravel.  Fun Fact:  An average of 1 million cubic yards are pumped onto the beach for a given project.  Fun Fact:  If sand is the erosion problem, then the solution is sand, putting it back to where it belongs.  The kids were engaged and developed terrific questions such as, “Would my hurt the environment?”, “How much sand is used to dredge back onto the beach?”, “How do you know when too much erosion is happening?”, and “What is your favorite part of your job?”.  Super way to end the week.  We are definitely spoiled to have so many resources at our fingertips.

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Engineering Ideas: Irrigation

January 23, 2016 at 9:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Meet a group of engineers applying logical reasoning, problem-solving, and mathematical concepts to create an irrigation system to make water flow three feet (without leaking) and disburse into two separate cups evenly.  Students were split into teams to devise an irrigation company name.  These company’s were given a $500,000 budget to use towards materials needed for construction, but before being allowed to purchase, they needed a blueprint design of the construction.  Each member created an illustration and the members of each team voted on which design to use based on budget and style.  After blueprints were approved by the inspector (yours truly), they were allowed to purchase the needed items, such as plastic tubing, cups (plastic & Styrofoam), duct tape, pvc, clay.  All of these items ranged in price by foot and inch from $2,000 – $25,000.  Each company was responsible for keeping up with the budget and making modifications to the blueprints prior to changing the construction.

Prior to beginning this project, we researched what irrigation was, how the Roman Aqueducts were constructed and worked, and focused on ethical procedures – which tied back to our previous knowledge from lessons on deforestation and the estuary/dragonfly pond activities.  With every good intention there usually is some negative impact or consequence.

Irrigation Construction

With that, company’s went to work figuring out how their constructions should be made, placed, and would work.  To keep the ethical point in mind, we added a stipulation.  Teams had three chances to make their irrigation system work without springing a leak.  However if a leak occurred, a company would have to shell out $50,000 for EPA violations.  The issue the people in Flint, Michigan are experiencing with water quality or lack their of would appreciate this.  If a company was successful after three attempts they went on to become a multi-million dollar sought after mogul.  If a company was unsuccessful due to leakage or blockage of water flow, then they most likely went out of business.  However, some unsuccessful company’s had ideas to merge to pool together budget and materials.

There were many purposes to this lesson.  The subcategories are:

  • Did the students work as a team?
  • Did everyone play a role?
  • Did their system work?

Students will self evaluate their experiences during this activity when we return.  Thank you to http://www.tryengineering.org for the lessons (some modifications were made).  Enjoy their creations.

CUB Irrigation
Irrigation 3
Irrigation 4
Irrigation 4

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Engineering In Action

June 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The engineers spent yesterday building mechanical hands.  The objective, make a hand that can grasp an object.  The instruction, “Here’s your materials, build it.”  Time to combine maker spaces with thought and problem-solving skills, not so much for show me the way.  Enjoy & check out the video clips in the flickr column (titled Projects) to the right or click on the term in blue.

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Solar Car Design

April 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Students spent the week reading about solar electric vehicles, how they work, how much/less energy they produce, and ideal times for them to function. They compared these to hybrids finding the similarities and differences between the two cars. We journaled vocab terms, illustrated them, and created context clue sentences for each. The kids were divided into teams to design a solar operated car. They had to determine which angle of sunlight would best power the car, which type of gears to use for speed, and then construct the vehicle. Rules: cars had to work, drive uphill 5 meters, and in a straight path.

Word of the week: photovoltaic cell = solar powered cell.

Here’s one clip of 4th grade engineers testing their car powered by a photovoltaic cell.

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