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Friday, January 9, 2015

Welcome Winter

After a two week break, we welcomed winter with some 'snowy' design challenges.

The first challenge was the Snowman Cup Tower Challenge. It was inspired by this youtube video of the tallest snowwoman in the world.

Tallest Snowwoman, Bethel, Maine

After watching the video, each group was given 20 plastic cups. The challenge rules stated that students had to work together to create a snowman face on each cup then stack the cups into the tallest tower possible. They were given 15 minutes for this challenge. The towers ranged from 18 inches to 57 inches. We review concepts related to the building of structures and concluded that for this particular challenge, a pyramid structure worked well.

The second challenge was inspired by this Wonderopolis wonder:

For this challenge, students were asked to work in partners to plan and create a toboggan that would travel smoothly and quickly down a snow hill...a cardboard ramp covered with wax paper ... you do what you have to in Texas:)
Partner groups were given a rectangular piece of cardboard and 3 feet of duct tape. We tested each toboggan and most performed very well, traveling 60 inches, smoothly and swiftly. We learned a bit about friction as well as some new vocabulary: friction, momentum, gravity, slope and toboggan!

Engineering challenges are always very engaging for the students and typically met with cheers and "I love school!" comments. What a great way to start the new year!