Monthly Archives: June 2013
Today was a great day to be on the water – not too hot and not too cold (well, it was a little chilly). We took our students on a jet boat ride on the Willamette, courtesy of Willamette Jet Boats. The tour began by OMSI and proceeded downriver to the Hawthorne Bridge. Our tour guide pointed out many sights along the way including bald eagles, bridge history Navy vessels, tugboats, University of Portland, and more. It is always a great follow up to our science bridges unit as well as Oregon history studies. As always, there were plenty of thrills with the ever-popular 360 degree turns which were always quite wet. After the trip we went to Cook Park for lunch and got some exercise with a 1 mile walk along the Tualatin River. Overall, it was a great trip and our kids were on their best behavior. Video and photos are below. Enjoy!
Our robotics unit concluded with a very competitive pair of tournaments on Friday. The first year student tourney, The Down and Back Challenge, was full of drama and came down to a close finish between first and second place. The second year students’ tourney, Touch Sensor Racers, was equally as compelling and involved a tremendous amount of planning, coordination, and teamwork. The final results of this tourney were also very close. Congratulations to all participants for a job well done. Below are the final results and several pics-
Down and Back Challenge-
1st. “Willamena” (Ruth, Paige, Abbey)
2nd. “JJ” (Shelby, Lexie, Amanda)
3rd. “Robey” (Dani, Joy, Julia)
Touch Sensor Racers-
1st. “Turbo Slug” (Weston, Evan, Irvin)
2nd. “Bob the Annihilator” (Taylor, Nathan, Emily)
3rd. “The Terminator” (Brandon, Mason, Hunter)
Since the first week of May our students have been participating our annual robotics science unit. This year has brought many changes and challenges. First of all, due to generous fundraising by our parent club and a donation, we were able to purchase more Lego Mindstorms NXT kits. These are the newest kits available. For the last several years our first year robotics students used the older RCX kits and the 2nd year students used the newer NXT kits.
Another change this year has been the use of Enchanting, a free and user-friendly programming software version for elementary students. With anything new, there can be a steep learning curve. Such was the case with our new software. While the interface is very easy to use for students (and teachers), the program has its share of bugs. However, our students have gained valuable experience in turning lemons into lemonade as became expert problem solvers when they encounter program bugs. At first many students were raising hands asking for help, but now they are taking steps to do their own problem solving. The help they now seek is for more deeper difficulties. After a few weeks, we found the program did not work well with the kits’ light sensors, which are a major component of the final challenge competitions. With the help of former EY teacher, Mr. Zirschky, current teachers Mrs. Reed and Mr. Evers changed the game plan to use touch sensors. As a result, we have two new challenges. The second year students are working on the Touch Sensor Racer Challenge which involves two students controlling a robot through a course using touch sensors. First year students are working on the Down and Back Challenge, and it involves programming a robot to travel a distance touch a target, turn around, and travel toward a target in a diagonal direction.
The final challenges will be on June 7th at 12:45 in the EY Gym. Parents and family are welcome to attend.
At the end of each school year, our students combine several of the math skills they have learned over the course of year to produce scale drawings of cartoon characters. Students measure and draw 1.5″ x 1.5″ or 2″ x 2″ grids on 36″ x 36″ butcher paper. Then they draw and later color the character to scale using a photocopy of the character on 8″ x 11″ paper.