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.
Today we were privileged to have Jeff Fisher, a habitat monitoring coordinator from the Freshwater Trust in Portland, visit with our classes about stream habitat and restoration. His visit was made possible through the Oregon Connections site, which helps connects STEM industry professionals with K-12 schools. This is an area we have wished to tie together with our salmon and trout hatching programs for quite some time. Jeff shared many of his experiences in stream restoration and provided some great insight for students in how their current learning could lead to careers involving fish habitat, stream restoration, river engineering or a number of other related occupations. Students also engaged in a river design activity. It was a great learning experience for our students and we hope to work with Jeff on other projects in the future.
Our salmon are entering the fry stage and are practicing their swimming skills. They are getting their fins in shape for release in the Willamette River in the next few weeks. Take a look at their progress in this video clip!
Today our students learned about states of matter, and measured temperature change during a chemical reaction, which in this case was baking soda and vinegar. We were very impressed with how our students followed directions during the lab, and how hard they persevered during the lab write up that followed.
Our students were quite engaged with our Insulated Cup Project. After learning about conductors and insulators, student groups planned and designed insulated cups. Ice water was poured in each cup, and Vernier temperature probes were used to measure the liquid’s temperature for 20 minutes. The goal was to have the smallest difference between the beginning and ending temperatures as possible. Students then manipulated one variable and retested to see if there was any improvement in their designs.
Our students engaged in an introduction to using Vernier Temperature Probes used for collecting and analyzing data. In the coming weeks students will using technology for science inquiry investigations and engineering projects.
Today our students competed in the Line Follower Robotics Challenge. This was a particularly difficult challenge, and while all robots did not complete the course, each group has displayed excellent engineering and problem solving skills. We had several robots that completed the course in impressive times. The final results are as follows.
1st Place – Stewie (16.66 sec)
2nd Place- Dumbo (17.71 sec)
3rd Place – Alvin the Great (18.69 sec)
Members of the Newberg High School robotics team, Drew, Riley, and Trey, demonstrated how their robot works and worked with Ewing Young Grades 4 and 5 this morning! More STEM in action at our school! Riley and Trey attended EY and participated in our robotics program several years ago. It was a great opportunity for our students to see how what they are doing in elementary school extends to the high school level.
For the past several weeks, our students have been studying package engineering, including the functions of a good package as well as the properties of packages. Students are now applying what they know about package engineering to design and create a plant package that will take into account the basic needs of a plant that will be transported. Our students are currently engaged in the “Create” stage. Next week we examine their constructions in the “Improve” stage. Thanks, too, for the many containers donated. They are being put to good use!
For the past several weeks, our 4th and 5th graders have been working on a project about oil spill cleanup. The first phase of the project involved students conducting pH samples to determine the sources of pollution in the fictional town named Greentown. After gathering and analyzing data, students developed presentations for the Greentown city council to identify the sources of the pollution and recommendations for further action.
The next part of the project has been for students to use the engineering design process to design, implement, evaluate, and improve a process for cleaning an oil spill so that the oil has the least impact on the surrounding ecosystem. After some study about ecosystems, students tested different tools to use for oil spill clean up. Their observations were shared between both classes, and using that information, each student group developed a plan for oil removal in a simulated river. Students were given a budget of $20 million dollars in the planning process. Student groups carried out their plans and then tested their clean up process effectiveness using special tools. From this, students earned an overall score for effectiveness and being cost efficient.
The next step will be to analyze today’s work and develop a plan to improve upon their first design. A big thank you to all parents who donated goggles, volunteered to prepare materials this fall, and help out with the activity. This would not have happened without your help.