Our fourth and fifth grade students have been very busy adjusting to some new routines and new faces in the intermediate grades. We launched our first STEM unit on energy, motion, and forces during the first week of school, and we’ve been impressed with our students’ effort, good collaborative skills, and engagement. Thus far students have explored energy transfer,motion, and forces using pennies, marble collisions, ball dropping experiments, rubber band cars. Mathematics have been infused in each lesson, especially metric measurement. Students used iPads to capture motion and used the camera tools to do some slow motion analysis.
Today our students collaborated, communicated, and used critical thinking in a simulation to develop proposals for how a place called STEMtown would be able to meet its energy needs as well as balance having a clean and enjoyable environment. Each group will generate two proposals and will decide on one they plan to present to the STEMtown City Council in a project next week.
Our students having been learning about energy since returning from winter break. This week we focused on the renewable energy source- wind. Students used the engineering design process to design, build, test, and improve wind turbines. Vernier energy sensors were used to measure voltage data. Students analyzed their data and evaluated their constructions.
Our trip to the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery was fantastic. The weather was great, tour guides at the dam were great, parent chaperones were great, and our student behavior was great. Even the fish seemed to be doing quite well today. Our students culminated their learning from a STEM unit earlier in the year on salmon and energy as well as from a pilot project about lamprey eels. It was a delight to see and hear students share their expertise with their tour guides, parents, and peers.
Our latest project has students building wind turbines and testing them for the amount of voltage (milli volts) they produce. Thanks for Mr. Zirschky for creatively designing and building our testing racks. They work wonderfully. Also, a special thanks to Mr. Byerley (District STEM TOSA) for loaning us Vernier Labquests and voltage probes to use to collect data.
Chinook Salmon Eggs
Today we received our salmon eggs from the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Thanks to Mr. Reed (Mrs. Reed’s husband) for driving to Clackamas to pick them up and deliver them to EY. The eggs originate from the Roaring River Hatchery in Scio, Oregon. Once they have incubated to the eyed egg stage, they become ready to dispurse to classrooms. We will raise our salmon in classroom incubators that are equipped with chiller units to keep the water cool (see previous posting for pics). Next week students will take turns conducting water tests and recording observations.
On Monday we began our newly developed STEM unit which focuses on the essential question, “How can salmon populations thrive and coexist with energy demands in the Pacific Northwest?” Our first two lessons have focused on foundational information about the salmon life cycle. Students have read two articles about the salmon life cycle on the Columbia River and have learned about each of the six major life cycle stages. Next week we will focus on ecosystems, food chains, as well as a salmon population activity that integrates math. In the coming weeks, our students will take a look at energy and will engage in engineering and problem solving.