Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Probability - Hop to the Pond



S'math is a combination of science and math. Our most recent S'math activity was Hop to the Pond, a game designed to get children thinking about probability. We played two versions of the game. In Hop to the Pond with 6 Frogs, we used a game board with space for 6 frogs, which are numbered 1 through 6. Students working in pairs took turns rolling a die. Whatever number came up, that frog moved a space. When a frog moved 8 spaces, it reached the pond and got to hop in. Then all the frogs went back to the beginning for another game. As a frog won, students reported it by adding an X above the frog’s number on a graph we created on the whiteboard.

Students then played the game using 12 frogs and 2 dice. At the end of both sessions, the children were able to see the difference in the two bar graphs, which were created from the children's results. It was visually evident that the graph of the first game with 6 frogs was more even than the second graph. We ended our lesson on probability with the children answering questions and analyzing their results.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Straw Design Challenge


River students had fun tackling another design and engineering challenge using 20 straws and 2 feet of tape. The challenge was to make an aesthetically-pleasing, free-standing structure. We discussed the different stages of the design process: ASK, IMAGINE, PLAN, CREATE, IMPROVE. We also talked about working within certain constraints. This included time, materials, and the type of structure they were expected to build.

Children worked in teams of three and were encouraged to cooperate, learn from other groups, learn from each other, and take turns in implementing their ideas. The design took place over two sessions, each ending with the children sharing information first about their design plans and subsequently about their creations.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Building and Planting


Design and engineering students have fun navigating the Marshmallow Challenge, created by Peter Skillman. The challenge was to make a free-standing tower which would support one large marshmallow, using a limited supply of spaghetti, tape, and mini marshmallows. Initially, students worked in teams to brainstorm, plan, design, create, and modify their structures. Students then tried the challenge individually.  We base our design thinking process on the Engineering is Elementary model developed by the Museum of Science, Boston. 

We also had fun planting lettuce in groups. First, we raked and pulled out any weeds. Then we dug holes and carefully planted our seedlings. We then watered our garden square. We're looking forward to having a salad bar in a few weeks' time.