I've blogged about Physics Day before (here and here) so won't go into great detail. The overall idea is that students in science class build Rube Goldberg devices that demonstrate a minimum of 7 physics concepts, such as momentum, acceleration, and potential and kinetic energy. One highlight I will point out this year is that a group chose to include a hummingbird robotics board into the design. Their goal was to integrate light and distance sensors into their project, such that the traveling marble would trigger these sensors and make something else in the design take action. Originally, they had hoped to make LEDs light up, but chose instead to incorporate servo motors so that the rotation of those motors would lead to the next step in the marble's path.
I enjoy Physics Day, even though it does not directly involve me. I help students during the build day, and take pictures and video on exhibit day, but the real work is done by our science teacher and the students. However, it's moments like this where I have the opportunity to work with individual students in an area where I may be helpful, that validate my decision to go back into the classroom. One of these girls is a former Creator's Studio student, and thus had the experience of working with Hummingbirds, and knew the potential of the tool. It was her vision that made the design possible, and the two worked together to test their ideas, modify where necessary, and ultimately find success in the final product.
Here's a short clip of the design in action, during exhibit day. You will notice that when the domino drops into the cup, it shuts off light to a sensor inside, thereby moving a servo controlled L-shaped bracket that releases a new marble. This marble then drops into a cup which uses a pulley to bring another cup into view of a distance sensor. That sensor then triggers yet another cup to pour sprinkles onto a cupcake!
Station One: Simple Marble Machines
Having so recently worked on their Rube Goldberg devices, the 8th graders showed their K buddies how to build a simple marble machine. I provided a more modular and flexible design for this activity so that groups could easily build, take apart, and build again. While I set up three different boards to work with, some students chose to incorporate all three into one large project.
Students in this station used the Tickle Coding App on the iPad to help Dash and Ollie navigate a floor maze. Along the way they toppled cans and rolled through cardboard bridges.
At this station, students used cardboard, foam, construction paper, googly eyes, and anything else they could get their hands on to build something that the kindergartner wanted. We saw doll houses, snow plows and minecraft creatures coming out of this area.
Students here were tasked with constructing an object with at least three items available on the table. The object was then tested in the wind tunnel. Could they make an object that zoomed up quickly, floated slowly, or hovered in place?
Similar to the Ollie and Dash station, students programmed and navigated a maze with their Spheros.
Using simple home-made circuit blocks or the more finely tuned LittleBits kits, students explored how to build circuits. Here they learned to categorize different types of components (power, load, control) in order to understand how electricity flows, what provides the energy, and where it is used.
All students visited this station at one point during the day. Pictures were taken with the green screen for a future project (sssh!).