with Leigh Ann Yoder
Cards and Coins
It was great to be back with the class this week and it really seems they enjoyed their challenge last week. We started class with a brief overview of the semester project. I will be providing more specific details at the end of this update.
Our story this week was about the invention of the credit card and how it began because one man was embarrassed when his bill came at a restaurant and he found himself without any cash. He first created the Diner's Club card which quickly caught on and turned into the world wide credit card systems we have today.
This week's challenge was to create a coin sorting machine. The teams were provided with cardboard, tubes, tape, straws and popsicle sticks. All three teams spent time brainstorming and each came up with unique solutions to the problem. I was very pleased that all teams took the brainstorming phase seriously and thought up very creative and practical solutions, however, each of the teams found that the implementation of their design was much harder than anticipated. Since the students were not able to complete the challenge this week, I asked them all to go home and think more about it. They can even test out some prototypes and bring in more cardboard for next week (some felt that it was easier to work with the cereal boxes). Please note: they are not permitted to bring in a completed machine. The machine must be built in class with their teammates, but talking with adults, gleaning ideas and testing, is allowed.
Important Note on Teamwork
As you are aware, teamwork is a major component of this class, and it is really the reason for performing these challenges in a classroom environment, because as homeschoolers, this is one thing we can not recreate at home. I feel the students have been working well together and making progress in their team building skills. This week I did notice some struggles, probably because the building phase was harder than expected. Some teammates wanted to change the direction of the original plan without the consent of other teammates and this caused friction. I would like to see the students work through these difficulties and ask for your encouragement at home. Learning to navigate these issues successfully will become a lifelong skill!
At this point the students are finalizing all of the materials they need for the first panel of their tri-fold boards. Please purchase one if you have not already done so. The first panel is the hardest and the most time consuming. I would expect it to take us at least another 2 or 3 weeks to complete.
First Panel Requirements
Name of chosen field (ex. Electrical Engineering)
Why I choose the field (Three reasons - first assignment)
Brief Description of the field (one paragraph - second assignment)
Job Description (third assignment)
Interview with an Engineer or Report on Famous Engineer (fourth assignment)
In Addition students can add anything that pertains to the above. They can be as creative as they like!
The Second Panel will focus on past, present, and future projects, inventions, and ideas in the field. More details will follow, but this will be the most visual panel of the board.
The Third Panel will focus on a hands-on project or challenge relating to the field. Again, more details will follow.
SEMESTER PROJECT: The students are not ready to start putting their first panel together as I have much of their work which will be returned to them next week. This week they should focus on completing any missed assignments from the first panel and think about additional material they can add such as pictures.
Coin Sorting Machine: Continue to brainstorm your machine. Try some prototypes. Talk to parents, siblings and friends. Email your teammates. Bring in cardboard for next week if you would like.
The Story of Inventions (optional): Catch up week! You should be at the end of chapter 9.