with Leigh Ann Yoder
We opened class with a demonstration of a roll-back toy made from a coffee can, large bolt with several nuts, a twist tie, two nails and a rubber band. The mechanics of the toy were hidden and the students had to guess what was going on inside. After thinking for a few moments, the students were able to make a fairly accurate hypothesis. Well done! This simple demonstration gave us an opportunity to talk about a few simple physics concepts. I briefly introduced the terms equilibrium, potential energy, and kinetic energy.
The class was anxious this week to get started, but first we read a little story about the most popular four-wheeled vehicle. The story was about a machine you have used many times. It has four wheels and can carry hundreds of pounds, but it doesn't have an engine. Can you guess what it is? I will give you a hint: It was invented by Mr. Goldman who became one of the richest people in the United States. Ask your students about this well known invention, its initial reception by the general public and its eventual impact on commerce. We also discussed the observation that some of the most successful inventions are born from problems. Looking around for simple problems to solve can turn into an extremely profitable solution!
I couldn't keep them contained any longer, so we broke out the supplies to make our model cars. There was a lot of action in the classroom this week. We used saws, awls, knives, rulers, scissors, and a hot glue gun. The students are designing and building 3 or 4-wheeled vehicles. The goal of class this week was to make a completed car that runs in a straight line as smoothly as possible with little or no resistance. Most students need to continue working on their cars at home to perfect them. Again, they may use any material they have on hand and decorations are encouraged. Next week, we will be adding the power and having a race!
Final Project: Students should be completing the hands-on portion of their project this week. Expect to spend a minimum of four hours on design, testing, redesign, research, etc. By the end of this week you should be ready to begin preparing your board, writing your summary, and if applicable preparing your hands-on class mini-challenge.
Race Cars: Students are to complete their cars they began in class this week. They are to come to class with a car that runs as smoothly and as straight as possible. Remember to reduce friction as much as possible around the axle holes, and try to invent ways to keep the axle straight. Students are free to use any household materials to improve their design.
Story of Inventions (Optional): Read chapter 18
Board Games (Optional): Continue to improve board games for our Engineering Fair