Tag Archives: math

Building water rocket launchers with @bendickraikes in 6th science at @The_School

@BenedickRaikes is the 6th grade science teacher at The School at Columbia University and an extraordinary colleague. He was inspired to build water rocket launchers this semester. In preparation for that, he purchased a book, Make: Rockets, and a Water Rocket Launcher kit from Maker Shed. (Update: these kits do not seem to be currently available…)

After assembling the kit’s prototype, Ben felt much better about asking 6th graders to build their own water rocket launchers as well. We purchased all of the parts using the supplies list from the book (also on the DIY project website). Most of the materials came from Lowe’s, and this process was made substantially easier as the book includes all of the parts numbers. Other bits and bobs were sourced from Amazon and the neighborhood hardware store.

Ben and I thought it would be fun if the students were to “place an order” at Lowe’s for the materials, so we shared the shopping list with them. Students were tasked with filling out a spreadsheet in math class that included space for them to insert an image of each part and an area for them to tally the cost of the project. See below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 2.17.18 PM.png

This week, 6th graders assembled their water rocket launchers using plans from Make Magazine: http://makezine.com/projects/water-rocket-launcher Students were divided into 4 groups of about 4-5 students. Each group had a faculty mentor at their table — 6th Grade Math Teacher Catherine Hildebrandt (@KKleinNYC), Math Associate Jazmin Sherwood, Intermediate Division Principal Kevin Fittinghoff, and me — which left Ben to float from group to group offering help and guidance. We had to saw PVC and wood, join pieces with epoxy or PVC primer and cement, assemble materials, work with drills, screwdrivers, utility knives, pliers, clamps, and more.

After two days of constructing rocket launchers, students were asked to fill out a self-reflection feedback sheet with the following questions:

  1. Did you enjoy the rocket launcher building project? Give reasons.
  2. What was your favorite part of the project?
  3. What did you find difficult or challenging?
  4. Did you learn anything new doing this activity?
  5. What are your thoughts about working in a group of 4 or 5 children?
  6. Would you be interested in doing a project like this again? What would you chose to build? (Realistic suggestions only please!)

Tomorrow students will have a soft launch (pun intended!) of their rockets. On Monday, the grade will gather together in the park for the official launch and to compare results.

After seeing my tweet about our project, Chris Casal (@Mr_Casal) shared a link to a wonderful video highlighting the work of Christine Boyer (@5boyer) and her 5th graders who launched rockets last year. Christine also provided a wonderful documentation of the project here, and she recently presented her class’s work at the National Science Teachers Assocation‘s annual conference!

LIFTOFF TO LEARNING from Ralph King, Hawkview Pictures on Vimeo.

 

 

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Fractals in 6th Math with @kkleinNYC, Geometer’s #Sketchpad, @Scratch, and pencils. @The_School #mathchat

I’ve had a deep love and respect for Geometer’s Sketchpad since I was first introduced to it in 1994 as an undergraduate Math major (and aspiring math teacher) at Bryn Mawr College.

Later, I used Geometer’s Sketchpad during my student teaching stint at Strath Haven High School and again as a pre-Algebra/pre-Geometry teacher at The Dalton School.

Today in 6th grade Math at The School at Columbia University, Katie Klein (@KKleinNYC) and her associate teacher, Jazmin Sherwood, facilitated a great lesson on Fractals blending direct instruction, video, and self-paced sketching with and without technology.

1. Homework from the previous night was to watch the first 20 minutes of Fractals, Exploring the Hidden Dimension.

2. Here’s a link to beautiful photos of fractals found in nature:  http://io9.com/incredible-photographs-of-fractals-found-in-the-natural-480626285

3. Here are instructions for drawing Sierpinski Triangles with paper and pencil:

4. Here are instructions for drawing Sierpinksi Triangles using Geometer’s Sketchpad on their laptops:
http://referencecenter.dynamicgeometry.com/gsp-reference-center/index.html?howto_sierpinski.htm

5. Here’s another resource for making other fractals with Geometer’s Sketchpad:  http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/PhoenixHS/math/GSP-website/17_Fractals(51-61).pdf

6. With additional time, students could explore fractals with Scratch or Snap (both are web-based block-based programming environments). Here are some links I gathered:

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This classic intro from #TheSimpsons demonstrates the #PowersOfTen. #mathchat

Teaching decimals? Katie Klein and Jazmin Sherwood are in their 6th grade math classroom at The School at Columbia University. I shared with them one of my favorite intro clips from The Simpsons where the creators paid homage to the classic Powers of Ten video by Eames. Sometimes it helps to be the oldest person in the room…


Homer’s version


Eames version

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