This week we began making art to display in the little gallery outside of our classroom! Students are creating drawings, paper collage, and watercolor snowflakes to display. We also started learning more about color relationships and line density by making shrinky-dink pieces that we will use in a future group project.
DRAMA: JUST ACT
Students continue to “lift the veil of inhibition” as I put it. They now RUSH onto stage when I say the “stage is open,” for improvisations and cold reads. This is good. The sooner they get hesitancy out of their nerves the better. Actors must be willing to spontaneously react and throw caution to the wind. As I tell them, imagination is one of the great tools of an actor. The scenes given to them this week are longer and/or tougher, and they are responding great. They still need to work to being louder, although there are a few who are already there. The second weeks scenes they will perform off book tomorrow (Thursday), and Friday we will focus on our performance play.
LIFE ON PLANET EARTH
This week we are learning about deserts and grasslands through class discussions, activities, and videos of plants and animals in those ecosystems.
Students explored the “Extinction! Biodiversity Lab” to discover what biodiversity is and why it is so important to the balance of life on Earth. They completed the Biodiversity Unit by redesigning and building sustainable orangutan reserves in a deforested area of a Minecraft world.
The students began a new unit of focus called “We Are the Rangers.” They completed two lessons; in the first lesson, they spent time shadowing non-player character (NPC) wildlife rangers in a Minecraft World to discover details about their specific roles as wildlife rangers in Africa. Finally, they finished the week by learning about land-use conflicts that are happening in the Okavango Panhandle, Botswana and then took the information they gathered and applied it to building those solutions in a Minecraft world.
ROBOTICS WITH LEGO EV3
The students started off the week by using touch sensors on their Lego robots. The students learned how to attach and program their sensors to grab objects, such as cans, and how to move when bumping into something, such as a wall. In the latter half of the week, the students learned how to use ultrasonic sensors. These sensors use echolocation in order to scan their surroundings and move or stop accordingly. In addition to working on their robots, the students also coded animated games or stories on Scratch. These games/stories are a part of their long term project for the summer. They also worked on animated robot mazes on VexCode VR in order to strengthen their coding skills and knowledge.
ROBOTICS WITH LEGO WEDO
For this week, we did our lesson about race-cars and how fast they can go. The students programmed their race-cars and modified it on Monday to see who would win the race tournament. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the students were able to build and take in knowledge about earthquake resistant buildings and how those buildings stay resistant through details such as wide base, strong walls, etc. Students were able to build an earthquake machine and practiced on three houses with the machine. They programmed the machine to shake using the WeDo software. After, students were asked to build the highest and most stable building and test it out.
ROBOTICS WITH VEX
Students continue to build and code their robots and practice driving finished products. As part of their testing, they brainstorm and add parts necessary for future competition. Students also prepare for future competitions by practicing and sharing finished products. To get a better idea of how robots move, we watched an autonomous driving car robotics competition.
STEM: SCIENCE OLYMPICS
In Week 2 we modified our cars from last week to be powered with balloons or sails to use wind power instead of the stored energy from going down the ramp. It was challenging at first, we but are getting used to documenting our ideas and drawing and labeling diagrams to show how we modified our inventions to improve them.
We also started thinking about forces and how simple machines make it easier to do work. We discovered that we had used two simple machines in our first project: wheel and axle (car wheels) and an inclined plane (ramp). Next we created foil boats/barges to hold as many pennies as we could as we investigated gravity and buoyancy.
Next week we will take to the skies with airplanes, rockets, and a zipline!
Keep bringing toilet paper and paper towel rolls, empty plastic bottles, cardboard, plastic containers, and newspaper so that we will have lots of recycled materials to use for our Rube Goldberg machines in Week 4!
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM