Saturday, December 9, 2017

Shapes and Structures (Freebie)

We are getting ready to start our unit on bridges.  I wanted to review 3D shapes and parts.

I started with a lesson on the strongest shape, a square or a triangle.  I used the AngLegs and gave each group a triangle and a square made with them.  We held them and pushed down on the top of the shape.  The square collapsed.  The kids quickly saw that the triangle was stronger.  I gave them one more angle piece and I asked them if they could make the square stronger.  Students added the piece diagonally and identified that the square was made of two triangles.

We discussed new vocabulary and what happened to our square.

We watched the Design Squad video showing a few demonstrations of strong triangles.

I then challenged groups to build with straws and connectors.  Each group had to make different 3D shapes and test to find the strongest shape.  My students love this kit!  I highly recommend them.  They are very sturdy and would be great for math or  recess.  
Straws and Connectors

 Our strongest shape!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Building Circuits is a Snap!

My fifth graders take the MCAS state science assessment in the spring.  We incorporate third and fourth grade standards into our curriculum.  Engineering is the perfect place to do circuits!!!!
I had my classes make simple, parallel and series circuits with basic materials; batteries, wires, light bulb, and holder.  
After reviewing the basics we added a challenge.  They had to build a fan using a small motor.  Groups experimented with ways to make the blades and bases.  They got creative turning the fans into spin art.

As part of my module, I introduced them to the snap circuits kits.  We read about setting up circuits using the  Science A-Z book, Setting Up Circuits.  The kit projects are endless.  They made buzzers, voice recorders, sirens, My kids demonstrated the transfer of energy with sound, light, motion using batteries.  I just bought the solar panel kit.
Link to Amazon

If you use snap circuits in your classes, there are some delicate pieces.  Please discuss with your students.  I learned the hard way.  We ended up with a few broken pieces but found a replacement store online.

Snap circuits is also a popular choice with my Maker Space Club.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lego Love: Storage Tips

My OCD kicked in and I decided to get my Lego tubs organized!!!! 

Last summer, I asked my Facebook friends for any Lego donations and had great success.  I ended up with a couple of large bins.  My intention was to get organized before the school year and then the year began.  We are now in November and I finally can breathe and want to get my room running more efficiently.  
I purchased this sturdy cart from Amazon.  The drawers can be pulled out and carried to work spaces. The cart is also portable and can be moved wherever the kids are working.   I am making labels for the drawers.  The drawers come in clear, black or multi-color.  I bought the clear.  I really wanted to see inside the drawers and it would also bug me if the color drawer did not match the Legos inside.
My students started sorting for me and I brought home the rest to finish.   A little Netflix, the couch and some tea made it go by quickly!  I can't wait to dump these large bags of sorted legos into my drawers on Monday.

I sorted the legos mostly by color:
  • red, pink and purple
  • orange and yellow
  • blues
  • green
  • white and clear
  • browns and tans
  • gray and black
  • people and accessories
  • wheels and axles
  • doors, windows and fences
  • extras 
Link for Printable
I made the Lego head container out of a giant cheese ball container.  I used spray paint and sticky black vinyl.  I use it for decoration but I also store extra bricks inside.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday November 2017

I am linking up with Forever in 5th Grades Monthly Linky Party called Show and Tell Tuesday.  
I have been so busy and miss blogging.  I am getting back my gr0ove.
Here are a few things that I'd like Show and Tell!
I have taken on a new role as the fifth grade engineering teacher.  This was my first thing I made for my classroom.  I bought all materials at Michaels.  I drilled holes and wired the metal pieces to the sign.  The wooden letters are glued on with craft glue.

I am so lucky to have a handy husband.  We made a lego wall.  It is plywood screwed on to the wall.  We bought epoxy and glued the panels on to the plywood.  Use Legos to hold pieces together while it dries or they will slide.
I love my new shoes.  My students think I custom made them.  Check out Groove bags.  They took awhile to ship, they came from China.

Another project my handy husband made, a wind tunnel.  I volunteered to work the science night at one of our elementary schools.  It was a huge success!!!!  I then used it to help with our parachute designs.
I love this adorable girl's flying contraption!!!
Please visit Forever in Fifth Grade!