Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grade 4 - Energy: Collisions

Module 1 in PLTW is coming to a close.  Teachers around the school are running their final problems and the children are having a ball while learning how to plan for and design solutions to problems.  Fourth grade is no different.  After following Mylo, Angelina, and Suzi, from the PLTW story, through lessons on potential and kinetic energy, the children were ready to design safe bumper cars.  Their job: keep their "egg" passenger from breaking while their car was traveling down a ramp.

The teachers had to learn to build their own cars first, for a demonstration. Then the children plowed ahead.  Watching the first eggs crash without any safety mechanisms in place was exciting.  Especially if you draw faces on the eggs first! 

As the children planned a way to, as Sofia, from Mrs. Basini's class explained, "keep their egg secure," their designs became more and more elaborate.  Aashi added, "You had to put protection in the car so the impact of the crash doesn't hurt the egg."  One  very clever group used the plastic egg that came with the kit.  They opened the egg and inserted a magnet.  Then they added a magnet to the car and stuck the two magnets together.  The egg didn't move!  I wonder if soon we will be wearing magnetic pants while driving in our own cars. :)

This unit was magical for the children and the teachers.  As Mrs. Basini vocalized, "This was a journey of science self-discovery."  Well said, Mrs. Basini!

Watch our students in action below:

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