Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Survive or SPLAT !

The Science club at GW Long is made up of more than twenty 5th and 6th grade students.  Last Friday, members competed in a challenge called "Survive or Splat”.  Students were divided into teams, each team was given a bag of approved materials and a raw egg.  The goal was to create a safe package that could protect the egg from cracking when dropped from nearly 30 feet in the air!  Students worked diligently for 30 minutes on their project.  Out of seven teams, 5 survived and only 2 went “Splat”!  Photos of our teams and their egg drop entries are shown below.

“The “Survive or Splat” activity is a great way to really engage students in creative and scientific thinking.  While students dream up and test ideas, they are so absorbed in  “thinking” that they don’t even realize they are learning!”  says Anne Durrance – the teacher who heads up the group.

In addition to “Survive or Splat”, Science club students participate in robotics – learning to build and program robots.  They have also started a recycling program for plastics and ink cartridges.

(Special thanks to Mr. Whatley and Pea River for providing a truck to drop the eggs!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST ! Garrett Brown Does and the Results are Amazing

Like watching action scenes in movies?  Love to see those close-up TV shots (that make you feel like you are on the field) with your favorite football team?  If the answer is “yes”, say “thanks” to Garrett Brown, professional filmographer, cameraman, and inventor.  Brown has invented numerous tools including the Steadicam and the SkyCam.  Checkout these links to see how the SkyCam actually works and to get some more info on Garrett Brown.

Here is some advice from Brown for inventors…..
"You may not think of yourself as a potential inventor, but devising your own unique objects, tools, appliances, accessories and methods, can be surprisingly easy.  There are seven basic steps:
  • Identify some object (or method or technique) you need or want that is missing—even if its absence has long been taken for granted.
  • Try to imagine all the ways that it might look, feel or operate if it did exist, and make sketches, diagrams or primitive models.
  • ‘Operate’ all the versions, at least in your mind, and select the most promising to try out or build
  • Deconstruct the winning version on paper, right down to its hypothetically disassembled parts.
  • Acquire whatever components can be purchased and hire experts to make the parts that are unavailable *
  • Assemble the thing and give it a try.
  • Improve it or start over (or celebrate!) as appropriate"

Science Club Members graduate Basic Robotics!

This week science club members completed their third lesson in Robotics.  They now have a basic understanding of:

This week we examined the iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner behavior.  Students designed and tested programs (using touch sensors and the ultra-sonic sensors) on the Lego Mindstorms robot to react to walls and obstacles – just like the Roomba vacuum.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Phases of the Moon - Oreo Style

Every 28 days, we see the Moon's appearance change as it transitions through eight distinct, traditionally recognized stages, called phases. The phases designate both the degree to which the Moon is illuminated and the geometric appearance of the illuminated part.  A bit of creativity and Oreo cookies (with some of the middle removed) become great models for our phases of the moon. 
This has got to be the absolute best way to learn Science !!

ROBOTS !!!!!

Science club members are not just learning about Robots, they are actually programming Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Robots.   All over  Alabama and nationwide, robots perform amazing tasks like painting cars, welding, drilling, dispensing medicine, even performing surgeries.
The last two weeks, we learned some basics about robots, and programmed our robot to move and speak.  This coming Friday, we will begin using sensors and will teach our robot to make decisions !