2nd Grade Learns about Biomimicry

The 2nd graders learned about biomimicry – how humans innovate by imitating nature.  After seeing buildings, cars, and fabric that borrowed ideas from animal adaptations, the students began brainstorming their own ideas to help improve products we use in everyday life.  Stay tuned for more news on their innovations!

The students were also introduced to “Math Analogies” this week, which is great practice for math and looking for connections.

image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alphachimpstudio/3799184542

image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alphachimpstudio/3799184542

2nd Grade Begins 3d Design for Lunchboxes

The 2nd graders have gone through several tutorials in Tinkercad, and they are finally getting the chance to try to re-create their biomimetic lunchboxes that they sketched a couple of months using Tinkercad’s 3d modeling.  It has been a learning experience for all of us, and we are discovering lots of different features in Tinkercad that can help us!

Speaking of 3d modeling, we hope to eventually print the lunchboxes using our 3d printer that was generously donated to our class through Donors Choose.  This week, the 2nd graders worked on making you thank-you cards for some of the donors – one of whom is the father of one of our GT 2nd graders!

The 2nd graders are also working on some tough math lessons that are actually an introduction to algebra.  They are called, “Balance Benders,” and show shapes on a balance beam to help students use algebraic concepts.  I think they will agree that the exercises started out fairly easy, but have definitely increased in difficulty!

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2nd Grade Puts Flying Reindeer to another Use!

The 2nd graders reviewed S.C.A.M.P.E.R. this week by using the “P” for “Put to Another Use.”  They tried to think of other ways reindeer with a flying adaptation could use that to their benefit the other 364 days of the year.

From that activity, the students went on to learning more about biomimicry, and some interesting human inventions based on ideas from nature, such as Velcro.  They created some drawings of biomimicry ideas that could solve everyday problems.

After their GoNoodle Holiday Dance (which the students really seemed to enjoy as you can see below!) and recess, the students worked on some winter sudoku puzzles.  I was afraid they were too easy – but they turned out to be challenging for all of us!  The students were great about continuing to try even though they had to erase a few times!

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2nd Grade Researches Animal Adaptations

The 2nd graders learned about the differences between structural and behavioral adaptations in animals this week.  They used the Wildkrats site on the laptops to research animals from around the world, and their “superpowers.”  For example, the octopus has the physical/structural adaptation to shoot ink out to escape its predators.  In the next couple of weeks. the students will be choosing a specific structural adaptation to study. They will then try to invent a new product for humans based on that adaptation.

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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 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.

2nd Grade Learns About Different Types of Bridges

The 2nd graders worked on their Biomimicry commercials this morning.  They are learning that creating can be a difficult process, and you often need to start over!  They will continue to work on their projects next week.

As students rotated through the iPads to work on their commercials, they also did some tough math challenges.  I loved listening to their reasoning as they tried to work the problems out.

After the above activities, the students learned about 3 of the main types of bridges: beam, arch, and suspension.   They did a great job identifying the differences in a short slide show of example.  Then, after taking a look at the bridges on the PBS Building Big Website, the students drew their own versions using the TypeDrawing app on the iPads.  You can see some of their creations below.

Next week they will be learning about the construction of the Brooklyn bridge.

2nd Grade Skypes a Much-Missed Classmate!

The 2nd graders had the opportunity to Skype with one of their GT classmates, who moved during the Winter Break to the Washington, D.C. area. She had the day off from school, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to check in with her to see how things are going. One of the exciting opportunities that she has in her new school is to learn Chinese!

The students also worked on planning their Biomimicry commercials. They chose their method of delivery (Chatterpix, Green Screen, or PuppetPals) and are starting to write the scripts.

They also continued to work on their problem-solving stations – Valentine Sudoku, Chocolate Fix, and Hopscotch.

2nd Grade Does Some Valentine Problem Solving

The 2nd graders are continuing to work on their biomimicry projects.  They visited the Bulverde Creek website today to see some projects from last year’s 2nd graders at that school.  This gave them some ideas for what they want to do to make their projects great. Then they began drawing their inventions. Next week, they will start writing scripts for commercials for their inventions.

The class also did some stations with a Valentine them.  The worked on logic challenges at Chocolate Fix, Valentine Sudoku on the interactive white board, and programming Valentines in Hopscotch.

2nd Grade Brainstorms Inventions

We reviewed biomimicry today. (Some students even remembered the term!)  The students watched a short video that showed some man-made inventions inspired by nature and took a quick on the interactive board.  Then they brainstormed some inventions based on some animal adaptations I put on the screen.  Below, you can see one student’s idea for using a parrot’s ability to dance to different beats. (If any of you have been watching the news from CES this year, then you might see some similarities to the new “smart belt!”)

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The students also added to their brainstorming lists from last week based on the bugs they are researching.

Speaking of bugs, we did a class activity on “Beetle Sorting.”  The students had to be extremely observant, and were even better than me at classifying the beetles based on physical characteristics.

Finally, I introduced the students to our new robot, Dash.  We will be using Dash for some programming and design challenges so be on the lookout for more to come!  You can learn more about Dash and the companion robot, Dot, on my professional blog here.