2nd Grade Works on Puppet Pals Creations

The 2nd graders recorded their Puppet Pals videos today – but most of them agreed that they would like to make some changes to make them even better. So, we won’t be sharing them just yet!  In the videos, the students are tour guides for the structure they are researching.  I’ve included some still shots from their videos below.

While each group recorded next door, the other students worked on some Perplexers and Do-Riddles.  Both of these activities were pretty challenging, but no one gave up! Even I decided to try one of the Perplexer puzzles myself, and had to erase and start all over.

So, I would say that our theme for today was to learn from our mistakes and move forward with a positive attitude 🙂

2nd Grade Writes Scripts

The 2nd graders will be creating short Puppet Pals videos about the structures they are researching. They used their notes this week to write out scripts.  Most groups have chosen backgrounds and characters, and will be ready to start “filming” next week with the Puppet Pals app on the iPads.

They also worked on centers.  Most of the students really wanted to create the Suspension Bridge with the K’nex kits, so that was what the majority of the class chose to spend their time on.  They definitely seem to enjoy building!

We are also participating in a “Squiggle Challenge” with a school in Minnesota, in which the students were asked to design anything they liked out of a squiggle (everyone had the same squiggle to start).  It was awesome to see that no two students came up with the same idea!

2nd Grade Continues to Research Structures

The 2nd graders are still using the Depth and Complexity icons to research their chosen structures.  Today they worked on “Perspective” and “Trends.”  They looked for information on who might have wanted their structure to be built, and who might have been against the construction.  In addition, they tried to find the initial reason for the structure, and why the particular materials that were used were chosen.

They also had some time to tear down their K’Nex Bridges, and to decide what they would like to build.  Some preferred to stick to the instruction booklet that came with the kit, while others wanted to make their own creations.  It was interesting to see the wide range of new K’Nex structures – from Olaf and cupcakes to robot bugs and fireworks!

2nd Grade Begins Depth and Complexity Research

The 2nd grade students chose different structures to work on for the rest of the year. They are going to find information about them using the Depth and Complexity icons from Kaplan. For example, we discussed the ethics of building some of the structures, as there were sacrifices made for many of them both financially and in lives lost. We looked at the details of the structures to find out what made them so notable and unique.

All of the groups have completed their K’nex bridges. Next week, we will take the bridges apart, and the students will have the opportunity to use the K’nex to build something using their own imaginations.

2nd Grade Makes ThingLinks

The 2nd graders chose different structures today to research using the Building Big website.  They took some notes, and shared them by creating interactive images called ThingLinks.

When you roll your mouse over an image in a ThingLink, you can access information on each “target” on the image.

ThinkLinks also allow you to share other media, such as videos, but the students are just beginning to learn how to create them.

The students also spent time in problem solving centers again, and some of them worked on finishing their K’nex bridges.

2nd Grade Continues to Work on Building

The 2nd graders continued to work on their Structures Centers from last week. The have all visited each center once – though most of the K’nex Bridges have not been completed.  I will give each group more time to finish their bridges next week.  We had some interesting and creative constructions at the Roominate station, including a bulldozer and a 4-decker bunk bed!

The students also did Problem Solving Centers today.  I introduced a new station on the iPads using an app called, “Groops.”  This is a great app for practicing visual thinking skills, and I was fortunate enough to download it on Friday – the one day it was free!  Though the app levels begin with “Easy Peasy,” the problems quickly got difficult, and I was proud by the  way the students at this center kept trying and did not give up.

2nd Grade Builders, Designers, and Engineers

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I challenged the students to think of something else that they would like to find at the end of the rainbow instead of a pot of gold. They drew some very creative answers, some of which I included below.

The 2nd graders went to different stations this morning to try some different skills related to our study of structures.  At the K’nex station, they are building bridges.  So far, we have one beam bridge and an arch.  At the iPad station, they worked on bridge challenges using an app called “Bridge Constructor Playground,”  which gave them different scenarios for building bridges and they had to choose the design and materials.  At the Roominate station, they were able to use their imagination to build a room with all different types of furniture.  One of the groups built an animal shelter!  At the Goldiblox station, they read a story and used some manipulatives to learn how to make drive belts of different designs with wheels, pulleys, and ribbon.

Each student was only able to visit two stations this morning, so they will have a chance to explore the other stations next week.  We also did Problem Solving Centers, so it was a very busy morning!

2nd Grade Visits the Insect Expo

None of us knew what to expect at the Insect Expo today.  Some of the students told me later that they thought it would be more like a museum – with all of the bugs under glass.  That was certainly not our experience!

The Expo was in a huge room at the El Tropicano Hotel downtown, and sponsored by the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). I’m not sure how many different stations there were – but after two hours we had not visited all of them!  Each station was interactive, and more than a few of them had real, live bugs that you could touch – or eat.

Yes, there was a bug-eating station.  I’m not sure what type of bugs they were, but they had been fried.  A few of the kids dared to try them, and reported that they did, indeed, taste like french fries.  Adventurous tasters also got to try different types of honey: raw, bee, and clover.  There did not seem to be a consensus on which tasted best!

The Insect Petting Zoo was fascinating.  We loved the huge green walking stick, whose body was shaped like a leaf.  There were lots of cockroaches and beetles willing to be touched, too.

There were all kinds of art projects – such as making your own set of antennae and creating water bugs that you could test.  If you weren’t feeling very creative, you could try “Maggot Art” by putting some drops of paint on a piece of paper and plopping some maggots in the paint.  As they crawled around, they made their own insect masterpieces.

The cockroach races were very popular, and the beekeeper was apparently quite engaging (our group did not get a chance to see him).  The students also got to make their own “bug suckers” for collecting bugs like real entomologists.

Many of the photographs below were taken by the students, themselves, at the Expo!

2nd Grade Builds Bridges

Last week, the 2nd graders researched different types of bridges, and were presented with a challenge to design a bridge out of straws and masking tape that would span 25 cm, and hold as much weight as possible. This week, they got to build their designs and test them.  The strongest bridge appeared to be the beam bridge (which had originally been designed as an arch, but ended up being revised during construction). The beam bridge held over 1000 grams of weight.

The students took turns building, photographing, supervising, and testing.  I have posted some of their pictures below.  They did a great job synergizing, and I love how every bridge was very different!

In addition to learning some bridge construction skills, they also learned how to add their iPad photos to Dropbox.  I’m happy to say that all of the photos below were taken by the 2nd graders.  (Maybe I’m out of the job as class photographer, now!)

2nd Grade Does Research for Great Bridge Challenge

We reviewed the materials and forces that can effect the strength of a structure, which the students researched last week.  Today, they were presented with a challenge – to create a bridge using nothing but 20 straws and some masking tape.  The bridge needs to span 25 centimeters between and we will see whose bridge will hold the most pennies.  The students had to research what type of bridge they plan to build and sketch it today.  They will make their attempts next week.  Two groups decided that arch bridges would be the best.  One group is going to do a suspension bridge, and one is doing a beam bridge.  The students also watched a video from Kid President about being inventive – and being prepared to fail sometimes.

After planning out the bridges and doing some bridge “challenges” on the interactive board, the students did centers.  They are now keeping track of their centers using the iPads and Google Spreadsheets.  They can choose their centers, but cannot repeat a center.  No more than 3 students can be at a center.  There was some great synergy going on at the Chocolate Fix and Math Logic centers!  And I posted a few pictures below of some Valentine S.C.A.M.P.E.R. projects where the students had to “Put it to Another Use” with a heart shape.