with Leigh Ann Yoder
Up, up, and away!
I was delighted to see the effort put into the students' cars at home. Everyone came into class excited and thrilled with their final designs. After a few minutes of tweaking we literally ran downstairs for racing.
The first source of power was balloons. The students had to decide how to attach their balloons in order to maximize the thrust. One car flew across the room exceeding 20 feet! Another had the second best distance with 11 and 1/2 feet. Next, 4 feet 2 inches, and finally, 2 feet 8 inches. The remaining students were not able to make their cars move. (More about that in a bit.)
It's the rubber band, man!
The second source of power was rubber bands. I explained to the students how to attach the rubber band and wind their axles to provide the necessary tension. Very few of the students were able to make their cars move and when they did the distances were small.
Although there was disappointment in the classroom, I was actually pleased with the results. It gave us an opportunity to discuss the semester's underlying theme. Only from failure can we succeed! They are each becoming true engineers. We talked about what went wrong and how each car could be improved. We discussed things like materials, placement of elements, axles, rubber band choices, traction, etc. I was able to remind the students that no one ever gets it right the first time. The first time is just a beginning. I was extremely proud to hear the students bring up some of the stories we have read in class, and inventors they have learned about through their home readings. After talking they were no longer disappointed, but excited to go home and try again. I could not be more proud of the class. We have had so much fun this semester, but this was the absolute one thing I wanted to teach them. I do not want one of them to ever fear failure, but rather look at it as an opportunity. Please continue to enforce this at home. They are each on their way to success.
We used a bit of class time to go over our final presentations. Again, the excitement from the students is thrilling. Most of them cannot wait to share their projects, and I cannot wait to see them. Please carefully review the homework assignments with your students. There are two weeks worth of homework assignments, so scheduling is important.
Remember - there is no class next week in observance of Memorial Day. Monday, June 2, is our last class and our Engineering Fair. ALL PARENTS AND GUESTS are invited and encouraged to attend at 11AM (note time change). All Young Inventors are required to arrive at 10AM for set-up and practice.
Please make certain to have the following items on June 2nd:
1. Display Board
2. Presentation Speech
3. Your finished project
4. Hands-on materials if applicable
5. Board Games
1. Finish the third panel. Remember this is a documentation of your project. Be certain to include a two paragraph summary of what you learned. If you have questions, please email me this week.
2. Prepare your hands-on activity (if doing one).
3. Use the outline I provided in class to write your speech.
4. Practice your speech at least four times! Preparation is the key to success.
5. Send me the field of engineering you studied this semester and two-three sentences introducing your project. I will use these to introduce each student. Please send this no later than Thursday, May 29.
Stories of Inventions (Optional): Finish the book!
Board Games (Optional): Continue to improve your game.