gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Designing and Testing Windmills

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3rd Graders continued their work as engineers by designing the most effective windmill to lift up washers in a cup.  Students used their knowledge they gained from the sail boat challenge to make a successful windmill design.  Students had to decide how many blades to use and what kind material and shape to use for their blade.  Many of the students were able to lift 15 – 2o washers by taking advantage of air resistance and adjusting the blades at the right angle.   Students discovered the value of frustration and failure as they made many adjustments to improve their design.

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Making the Perfect Sail Design

 

3rd Grade Students having been studying the effects of wind and sail design in science class.  They will spend the next few classes making different designs of sails choosing the shape, material, and size of the sail. With this knowledge, the students will be able to build their own windmill that can lift washers off the ground. Students have experimented with different designs to see which variable help the boat travel farther with the help of a fan and a long fishing line track.

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LowerSchool MakerSpace

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Lower School students  have been enjoying the makerspace after school.  Some projects include making a homemade speaker for an Iphone, a lighted zipline made of cardboard, a homemade flashlight, a magnetic fishing carnival game, and playing with the ollie.

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Making Solar Ovens

 

3rd Graders are finishing the year with their last engineering project. Students designed a solar oven that was stuffed with insulation materials. Since our data indicated the shredded material held the heat the most, we collected materials around the room and shredded them before fitting them into the box.  We reused materials such as foam and styrofoam peanuts to put in our box.  Reusing materials rather than throwing them in the trash is more environmentally friendly.  The biggest motivation was the S’MORES we will be cooking in the ovens to celebrate a year of creative learning in science!

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Testing Materials for our Solar Ovens

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3rd Grade students are excited about making their solar ovens this month in science. Before we build the homemade ovens, students are testing different materials to find out if they help insulate heat energy.  Students tested the flat and shredded materials in an ice bath for 3 minutes.  They recorded the change in temperature and discovered which materials were good insulators.  With our big ice baths, thermometers, and timers, the third graders acted as careful scientists.  Using the data, they will able to design their solar ovens as creative engineers.

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Students were busy in our Maker Space Club after school today at Shipley. We were able to do some tinkering by tearing apart some computer laptops, a VCR, cameras, a computer mouse, and an electric pencil sharpener. Students were amazed by the electronic circuitry and metal parts that made up the machinery. Some students saved materials to be reused and two of our students wanted to complete an art project with some of the parts of the computer.  Can’t wait till next week in our Maker Space!

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Making a ball of Clay Float

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3rd Grade students continued started their study of buoyancy by making a ball of clay float.  Students discovered the important factors that allow the clay to float that included high walls, a wide shape, plenty of air, and no holes on the bottom.   One of the most interesting designs was a hollow burrito boat that took advantage of a less dense air pocket.  Lots of creative ideas for our third graders!

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Taking Risks and Making Mistakes are important Steps in Innovation

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3rd Grade students designed windmills in our new maker space this week.  We first tested different materials like paper, felt, wax paper, and wood.  We experimented with different shapes and sizes.  We measured the success of our design by seeing how many washers the windmill could lift using the wind power supplied by a fan.  It was great to see the wide variety of designs.  Some designs has multiple number of blades – like two, four, and twelve.  The most unlikely design of craft sticks held together like a raft lifted over 20 washers in a cup.  The first try was not always successful, but students learned through determination and trail and error how to produce a successful windmill.  I was impressed with the wide variety of ways to solve this problem.  The creative energy was alive and well in the Lower School Maker Space.   Well done, third grade !

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Harvesting Classroom Cherry Tomatoes for the Dining Hall

Students have been caring for different garden vegetables in the classroom aquaponics system.  The Tilapia fish at the bottom of the system help supply nutrients to lettuce, basil, cherry tomatoes, and eggplants.  We harvested the cherry tomatoes today and served them in the lower school dining hall salad bar.

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3rd Grade Paper Helicopter Design

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3rd grade students experimented with different paper helicopter designs.  Each student created a design the increased the speed of the fall.   They found adding paper cliops or making the helicopter blades smaller helped the helicopter gain speed as it dropped.  Each student created a design the decreased the speed of the fall.  They found making the wings wider or adding a large base helped to slow the flight downward.  Many of the students suspected the weight of the paper had some effect in the change of the speed.  We also discussed the difference in air resistance that caused the change of speed.  Students were aware of the force of gravity in the activity, but learned the importance of air resistance, too.   This will help us in later classes as we design and test different sails and windmills.

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