What’s in the box?
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.
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:
- Students had to have a design in mind of something to build, anything of interest, and sketched into their journal.
- 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
- 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.
- Students needed to have measurements made for the scale of their design.
- 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.
No Time for Scissors
Chest of Drawers
Refering to Plans
Gorilla- Arms Swivel
$1 a ball
Laying out materials
The piece I need
“In” the moment
Moment of Truth
Game of Thrones
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.
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.
Weighing the Light
Weight of the Whole
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