Friday, January 13, 2012

EDP - final week!

Its definitely the final week on our Engineering Design Process unit, and what a unit its been! The next time I do this unit, I will be putting more caps on the amount of time we spend on different parts. This is somewhat difficult to do with our short classes, but one I think we can manage. For starters, I've changed up the reviews for more student interaction and have been using more Kagan structures, such as paired sharing. Its taken a bit to get the students accustomed to the structures, but I think it will help all students in the classroom become more involved in their own learning.

This week the students are writing a reflection piece about how they worked together as a team to accomplish their products, reflecting on the highlights, what went well, what could have gone better, and what changes they would make as far as working as a team the next time.

I have one second grade team that has been trying to finish their project - they got a late start in that it took them several weeks in the beginning to decide on what they were going to make, but I think now they have gotten most of it together, they don't really want to stop. They were so excited and pleased with themselves when they finally figured out they could add other items to their drinking straw that they drew out of the bag originally, and decided to make a garden using straws as slats in fence surrounding the garden. They also could not decide who was going to take it home, so they have decided diplomatically that they would each take it home for a week and add to the garden with paper flower cut outs and toothpick stems. They needed some help with the hot glue adding the straws and wooden craft stick posts on, but the rest they each tenderly worked on as if it were their own garden.
Wooden craft stick fence posts hold plastic straw fencing that
surrounds this garden of green felt grass and construction paper.
Plastic trees from a cake topper were found for the trees, with
miniature pompom bushes, and a pipe cleaner flower. On the back
side is another flower cut from sheer printed ribbon with a straw stem.

Crazy scheduling is coming up next week with Dr. Martin Luther King Day on Monday and Record's day on Friday, with a zero Fine Arts day on Wednesday as we meet together with all of the classes, leaving just Tuesday and Thursday for classes. But, I keep telling the kids that the fun part of STEM, the really fun part, that is, is just around the corner! (Legos, K'Nex, and more!)

Kindergarten is taking a look at screws this week and comparing them to bolts, which are also screws in simple machines terms. I find it interesting how enthusiastic they can get over holding the real things and being able to see the differences between the two themselves. We've also compared a jar lid to a screw and talked about how the lid was like the inside of a hole for the screw, in that it has threads, just like when a screw goes into a hole and cuts threads.


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