Google Science Camp

The summer is flying by, and some of you may be at the point where you are looking for a new activity.  Well, you are in luck! Google started their online Science Camp this week, and it’s free!  “Ocean Week” is this week’s theme, followed by “Space Week,” “Nature Week,” and “Music Week.”  Don’t worry that you missed the first couple of days, because all of the videos and activities are available online.

Google Science Week


By the way – don’t forget to fill out this Padlet about what you have learned so far this summer!  I really want to hear from you!

2nd Grade Memories for 2014-2015

The 2nd graders got to look through our old class blog posts on their last day of GT.  They chose pictures that represented some of their favorite GT activities and made Pic Collages of them.

They also got to build structures one more time, using Zoobs, Magnatiles, and a Marble Run Kit.  In between building and reminiscing, they were able to go to the library to see our new 3D printer in action.  We printed a medal designed by one of the students.  It took 2 hours to print!  (Now we know we should make our designs a tad bit smaller!)

It has been a wonderful year in 2nd grade GT!

2nd Grade Works on 3D Print Designs

Using Pic Collage and the Green Screen app, the students finished up collages they were making about the bridges they built with K’nex.

The 2nd graders also tried out an app that we are experimenting with for the new 3D printer in the library.  The app is called Makerbot Printshop, and the students explored designing different items that we might possibly be able to print.  They learned some of the benefits and limitations of 3D printing, and we discussed the ethics of this relatively new technology.

Next week is our last class, and we are hoping that some of their designs get printed!  (Mrs. Lackey and I are still working on getting the printer working.)

2nd Grade Imagines a Different Kind of School

We had a shorter GT period today due to the 2nd grade program rehearsal. However we had plenty of time to watch this neat video about a Kindergarten in Japan.  After the video, the students did a lot of brainstorming about what they would add to a school, and then drew some diagrams of their ideas to share with the class.  You can see some examples below. (Remember, you can click on each picture to enlarge it.)

2nd Grade Learns About Plans for Our School Track

Mr. Dayal, also known at Hidden Forest as “Mops,” spoke with the 2nd graders today about the plans for adding a track in the field behind our school.  Before he came to our room, the students came up with the steps they thought would need to be taken for such a structure to be built.  Thanks to our bridge-building practice, they knew that time, planning, materials, and budget are important.  They also knew that it was important to look at advantages and disadvantages of such an endeavor.

Here are some things they didn’t know:

  • Our track will be relatively small.  To build a full-size track, would actually encompass one of the buildings on our campus.
  • Water is a major factor – where it will drain, the fact that adding asphalt means that less will drain into the aquifer, and making sure that it doesn’t make our track buckle or get potholes.
  • Leveling the ground is essential.
  • When hiring a contractor, you should get several estimates, and the cheapest is not always necessarily the best choice.

After Mr. Dayal left, we reflected on his visit.  Then the students went around the school and took pictures of other places they would like to add structures.  They brainstormed some ideas for items that would enhance our campus.  Here are some:

  • Chemistry Lab
  • Take Apart/Put Together Lab
  • Pool
  • Telescope
  • Large Hadron Collider

I’m guessing, since, a full-sized track won’t fit, neither will a large Hadron Collider 😉

Thanks to Eliza and Lauren who took our photographs today, and to Mr. Dayal for his time and wonderful explanation of the process of adding a track to our school grounds!




2nd Grade Builds Sphero Bridges

The 2nd graders were challenged to make bridges that spanned 14 inches between the ends of 2 tables, and would allow for a Sphero to cross.  They were allowed to use different materials, but there were “costs” for each material.  The challenge was to keep the cost low while still making a usable bridge.  There was a lot of planning, measuring, weighing, and calculating going on in our classroom!  Two out of 4 teams were able to complete the challenge during our GT time.  One of the finished teams had materials costs that were over $1000 and the other had costs of around $500. Can you tell which one was the least expensive finished bridge?

2nd Grade Completes Biomimicry Projects

All of the 2nd graders have completed their Biomimicry projects, and you can see the remainder of them below.  Here is a link to one last video that was a little too large to include in our playlist.

Most of the students are also done with building K’nex bridges.  We got an extra kit, so we could get some of the parts that we have been missing.  One group was so motivated that they built a bascule bridge, which was not even one of the requirements!

Another fun activity that the students did today was “Measurement Dot-to-Dot.”  Instead of the usual dot-to-dot, these pages required the students to connect only the dots that were a certain distance from each other.  This is a great way to work on measurement skills!

2nd Grade Squares and Subtracts

This week I gave the 2nd graders a different kind of math challenge – “Squaring and Subtracting.”  You can learn more about it here.  They tackled it with relish, and quickly devoured the first challenge.  Then we all got stumped by the 2nd one.  We moved on to the third (with intentions to return to the 2nd later), and most students got close to solving it, but we ran out of time.  We will continue next week!

Most of the groups completed their beam, arch, and suspension bridges.  Some then chose to build the truss bridge recommended in the instruction book, but some decided to branch out and build their own.  You can see one example below!



2nd Grade Works on Arch Bridges

One of our goals for the rest of the year is to perform random acts of kindness.  I asked the students this morning about RAK’s they had done in the last week, and they gave me a long list!  They are a thoughtful group of kids.

In keeping with that goal, I’ve been asking each GT class to participate in a Twitter chat our district is doing called #neisdkidschat.  One of the questions was to give a shoutout to a teacher.  I asked them to choose at least two staff members to thank and we tweeted out their gratitude and sent it to the teachers.

There are still a few students working on finishing their biomimicry projects.  Hopefully, they will be completed next week.  The students are also working on math challenge packets.  One student completed his and got to try out a new app called Algebalance which is an awesome introduction to Algebra.

Every group finished their beam bridges last week, so they began working on arch bridges after watching a Brain Pop video about the three main types of bridges.  I think they are definitely finding out how much more work goes into building an arch bridge than a beam bridge!

2nd Graders Work on Biomimicry Projects

Almost half of the 2nd graders finished their biomimicry commercials today.  They invented new products based on animal adaptations they learned about, and made commercials for their products.  They were allowed to choose the app they would use to create their final videos.  You can view the completed projects below.

All of the students have finished building beam bridges with the K’Nex and are moving on to the slightly-more-complicated arch bridges.  It’s interesting to see the groups choose which type of arch bridge they want to construct; many of them are selecting the most difficult one!

The students also continued to work on their math logic puzzles, and showed great “grit” as they pushed through the challenging ones.

Two of the videos were a bit too long to embed on the blog, but you can access them here: Heater Blanket, Weather Scanner.