Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rocket Launch-Take 2

This past week, the Makers (Coding & Robotics club) finally launched their rockets that they had designed with the Tarleton State Aeronautics team! It was a beautiful spring day, albeit a little breezy, and we were very excited to get outside and see how our rockets performed!

Before we headed outside, we made some last minute adjustments to our rockets. The students listened carefully as Michael and Andrew explained what we were going to do.

Michael & Andrew, from the TSU Rocket Team, arranged three launch sites, positioned on the hill behind our school. This made for a wonderful viewing area. The students lined up to watch the rockets blast off.

Most times, the rockets would go off without a hitch, but every so often adjustments would have to be made before the rocket would launch.

The students were thrilled when their rocket would go off, and then would race to the landing site to collect it. Here are most of the launches, including the rocket launch from the week before. It is so fun to listen to their squeals of excitement!

Curtis Elementary students loved having this experience and truly appreciate all of the time and effort Michael and Andrew put into this project. We also appreciate Dr. Keith Emmert who connected us with the Tarleton State University Aeronautics program. This has been a great learning experience for all of us!

Rocket Launch- Take 1

Curtis students have been very fortunate to be able to participate in an education outreach project of Tarleton State University Aeronautics team. 5th and 6th grade students, as well as our after school maker club have all Skyped with the team in preparation for their visit. You can read more about our Skype here.

After an unexpected weather delay, the day had finally arrived for Michael & Andrew's visit to Curtis. The weather was a little cool and damp, but it wasn't raining, so it looked like the launch was on!

We started with a presentation with our 5th & 6th graders, where students were able to learn and ask questions about rockets and the competitions, as well as get a look at the 3D printer they had brought.

The 3D printer was great for the students and teachers to see since we will be writing a grant for one for our campus. As teachers watched the printing process, their minds began spinning with all types of curriculum tie-ins! 

We headed outside then to watch Michael and Andrew launch the rocket they brought. The students lined the perimeter of the field and waited patiently for the rocket to launch.

Unfortunately, the video of the launch isn't great, but you get an idea of how exciting it was to see it launch.

After school, the maker club came to the cafeteria for their presentation and to get their rockets ready for launch. They had designed their rockets, and Michael & Andrew had printed the rocket components. The students had to pack the parachute and assemble the rockets before launching. 

 Just as in real life, sometimes technical difficulties delay a launch. The team from Tarleton was just as disappointed as the students, but due to launch issues, they could not guarantee the rockets could launch safely. They shared this with the students and promised to come back the next week! 

We will be ready to launch next week! The students are learning so much through this experience, not only about rockets & aeronautics, but also patience! :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking for Spring with Kindergarten

In my lesson plans for today we were going to compare fiction and nonfiction books. Well, today was a beautiful day, and sometimes plans have to change! I had just unpacked a box of books and found Finding Spring by Carin Berger.

I couldn't imagine reading this book to my kindergarten friends inside the library! Our library is upstairs and overlooks a courtyard area that was begging us to come read in it. So we headed outside today, armed with this book and a couple of iPads. Recently I read that teachers should equip the students to document the learning, so I handed iPads to a couple of students & even gave one my phone. As we went outside, students were instructed to find signs of spring and take pictures. 

We gathered at a bench and read all about Maurice, a baby bear, who is anxious to experience his first spring. Unfortunately, it is winter and Mama Bear is already for hibernation. Maurice decides to go out and try to find spring. This book gave us a good opportunity to talk about seasons, animal habits, and even evaporation. 

It was so much fun watching these students eagerly search for signs of spring and then call for friends to come take a picture. Here are some of their great shots! Happy Spring!