The 2nd graders finished up their bridge designs this week, and tested them out with our Dash robot. As you can see from one of the pictures, we put a little cushion underneath in case Dash did not make it across.
Unfortunately, Dash was not able to cross for either bridge design. However, the students reflected on their experiences and felt like they had learned a lot. Their designs went through many revisions, and they would probably have even better ideas for building the bridges if they had more time. We compared/contrasted their process to the real-life work that goes into building bridges – and we all decided we would need a lot more training and experience before we could design a real bridge!
The 2nd graders were tasked with building a 2 ft. bridge that our Dash robot can cross between tables. They were given a budget of $50,000 and a price list for potential supplies. They brainstormed designs, made diagrams, and did some mathematical computations to decide which supplies to “purchase.” This took quite a bit of planning, so they haven’t had a chance to build yet. They are definitely learning how difficult it can be to stick to a budget, though!
The 2nd graders were very keen on finishing up the K’nex bridges they had started building a few weeks ago. Because I wanted to add some higher order thinking to their projects (instead of just following directions for the kit), I showed them a video about a flying car that may possibly go into production in the next few years. We talked about what might happen to bridges if people were driving flying cars, and decided that we would still need bridges because: not everyone would be able to afford a flying car, and even flying cars need to have some kind of “highway” so they don’t run into each other. The students were tasked with coming up with hybrid bridges that would work for standard and flying cars. An idea from one of the groups was to make their bascule bridge (drawbridge) into big traffic lights for the flying cars to use. You can see their example below. Pretty intriguing!
The 2nd graders used K’nex kits to learn more about beam bridges this week. You can see their varied constructions in the gallery below! (Remember that you can click on a picture to enlarge it.)
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.)
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!
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!
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!
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.