Math and Science are Cool Too
Despite their nerdy reputations, math and science can be both cool and integral to students' future success. I thought I'd highlight just a few of the cool math and science projects I've seen teachers doing recently.
Bridge Building, 6th Grade
Kids got really into this project, maybe because Miss Laura turned it into a competition with a prize pizza at the end. Bridge Building is a physical science Science Olympics event. It challenges junior engineers to build a bridge using only toothpicks and white glue. It combines physical science principals and lots of math. Each bridge must be built to the same scale, twenty cm from tower to tower. The winning bridge is the one with the best strength to weight ratio, the lightest bridge that can hold the most weight before breaking.
We were surprised at how much weight the bridges held! We used all our gram weights and they didn't break so we solved the problem by suspending a bucket from the bridge and slowly filling it with water until it came crashing down. Then we weighed the water bucket and subtracted the weight of the student holding the bucket on a bathroom scale. We then divided weight of bridge by weight to break it and declared a winner! The winning toothpick bridge held 37 pounds! They got a certificate for a free pizza, everyone's favorite. The winners were Hector and Luis in 6B, and Leonardo and Adan Jose in 6A.
Noticing that her floor was a perfect grid of squares, all she had to do was apply tape and number them. She divided it up into four mini grids and then created a set of directions involving left and right hands and feet.
The result was Math Twister, which got the kids all tied up as they learned their negative and positive X and Y axes. There was some falling (and therefore elimination) and some awkwardness, but hopefully it burned the grid into their minds.
I am the Lorax
Miss Love, the secondary school science teacher, commemorated Dr. Seuss's birthday by watching The Lorax to inspire some positive messaging about the importance of the environment and an exercise in concise writing.
After watching the movie, they had a class discussion about its relevance to society. Students were then asked to write a concise statement about the environment and illustrate it in the form of a bumper sticker. You can see the results below.