April 29, 2014 – Science (structures), 3D Geometry, Literacy

We started today with a science/math/literacy activity: word sort!






Peer & self-assessment: How did we do? How do our answers compare?


Getting ready to present our K’Nex structures
– students brainstormed some questions they would like to answer about their structures




April 28, 2014 – Science (Structures)

(This blogpost is in progress ~~ check back later, too!)

We watched a short Bill Nye the Science Guy video about Structures. We added words and ideas to our anchor charts. We took a closer look at arch construction.




We tried (without much luck) to adjust the shape of cheese cubes in order to recreate the cheese arch from the video , despite Stephanie being a fine “cheese-mason”! We’ll leave the materials out for some brave soul to keep trying this arch!

We took new information from the video to incorporate into our K’nex structures exploration.
Owen C: As the structure got bigger it need more support. Small red support piers to the base



Emma: The base is an octagon. The top will be an octagon too so it will be an octagonal prism.
Rebecca: It has (vertical) support beams (piers).


Connor: The red piece is the main connector. The yellow supports make the structure more stable.


Kai N: This is a monster truck punch-buggy. It is strong because it is a dome shape. It is stable because the base is wide.


Iris: We used triangles because they are one of the strongest shapes.


Ms Fawcett: Do you think all triangle types are equally strong? Would you modify the materials for different triangles?
Iris: Scalene triangles would be the strongest (symmetrical) — sides could carry an equal load.
Mark: On a scalene triangle one side would be able to carry less load than the other side. You would make the weaker side out of stronger materials.

Owen C takes safety to the next level: “We’re constructors and engineers – we have to wear helmets on site.”


Elliot: a rectangular prism is stable lying on its side with a wide base.

If it was vertical it could topple over.
It would topple because the top part is a heavy load


Taylor & Kailyn: The square base is stable. How tall it is makes it a little unstable. To make it more stable we could have an arch or build a triangle shape support on the side.


Material/budget issue: Lack of materials! Interesting conversations happening:
“Do you have another red piece we can have?”.
“What are you willing to trade? Do you have any of these?”
“What is it you desire?”
“No stealing any.”
“I’m going to see who needs white”
“I decided that my job is to organize what we have and decide what we can trade. We decided to trade instead of give. We can give away some things too.”
Counting and protecting what we need; offering what we can share. Do you think there is a connection in the real world of construction (needs, shortages, having extra materials, connecting with other builders/companies)?


In Mr. Obermeyer’s class, they are building structures. What is working well with this structure? What needs to be changed or added in their design?



We consulted with Mr. Obermeyer on our cheese arch. Why do Mr. O’s arches work? How did he modify our design?


Eric successfully follows Mr. O’s design and it works again!


Students worked on answering the questions from above:
1. How could Mr O’s students newspaper structure be improved to be more stable? What did they do well?
2. How did Mr O modify our cheese arch design to make it work?





April 25/2014 – Structures (science)

We’re making a motorcycle — having symmetry in three dimensions helps to make it a stable structure


Glen: We are making a cylinder. It has 8 supports that evenly distribute the weight. The base is an octagon. So it’s actually an octagonal prism.


We’re trying to make a building. There are lots of support beams. The rectangular base is very stable.


Stephanie & Kai N: We’re making a bridge. We have a lot of triangles that are stable. The sides are in compression and won’t fall down.