with Leigh Ann Yoder
We began class with our homework discussion. Each student shared a different invention from the past 30 years and had validating reasons. Well done! We also briefly discussed our new found knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock. The class will be researching a new and interesting engineer every week. I also briefly outlined their semester project which will culminate with a presentation during our last class. Next week they will receive explicit details and requirements. For now, I only explained that the project will be focused around one engineering field and will consist of a trifold board, a two to five minute presentation, and a demonstration or hands-on project. Each week the students will be given assignments that will pertain to this project, and if they do the weekly assignments they will not be overwhelmed.
Next, our focus was on a major component of the Young Inventors class - team work. The goal is for every student to work well with every other student. Many weeks we will do specific team building activities to (1) instill the importance of team work, and (2) help facilitate positive group skills. This week we started with a very simple team building activity. The students were asked to line up in order of their birth dates. The only rule was that they could not speak or use their mouths in any way. They had lots of fun and were successful, although at times they couldn't resist mouthing words.
How does it work?
We then continued our Take-Apart project. In the end we took apart a phone, a remote control, a blow dryer, an electric scale and a DVD player. Each team was required to do a quick sketch of their item and prepare a brief presentation. The focus was to identify how the appliance worked and to follow the power source. During the presentations we were able to have mini break-out discussions on a variety of topics including electromagnets and motors (a wonderful tie-in to The Story of Inventions), conductors and non-conducting materials, switches, gears, weight distribution, and circuit boards. Many of the students asked to continue Take-Apart next week, but we have so many more wonderful activities to get to. I encourage the students to take things apart at home -- with their parents' approval, of course! If your child is interested in this, I highly recommend the book The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay. I had planned to bring it out in class and go over in more detail some of their components, but we ran out of time.
I will keep next week's topic a secret, but I promise it will be fun and exciting!
Homework for next week: