Saturday, March 28, 2015

City Planning & In the Air

In February, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students began a multilayered, collaborative city-planning project. After many fruitful discussions, debating the components and infrastructure that are needed to design a livable home, neighborhood, and city, students were divided up into 6 neighborhood teams. As each team is working on a separate but connected neighborhood, the students will need to conference with one another throughout the process. The landscape has been determined; students decided that it is a coastal city with a nearby mountain, river, and a watershed! They are in the midst of debating issues such as placement of roads, bridges and sidewalks.

In early March the K/1s set out to design mini parachutes and began experimenting with gravity and air resistance. Before starting construction, they tested the drop rates of different canopy materials including: textiles, tissue paper, thin plastic, and paper. After students settled on canopy material, they began testing canopy shape. Some chose rectangle pieces while others cut canopies into a circular shape. Once they had cut their canopies to optimal size, they tested how varying the attachment site and the number of suspension cords, changed the drop time. We tried a parachute with the suspension cords attached within the canopy piece and then retested the same parachute with suspension cords attached to the very edge of the canopy. Students also found that, by varying the suspension cord length to the load, they could see a difference in how their canopy dome would open during test falls. The K/1s made their own minifigure parachutist out of clothespins and teachers planned a test-launch from 15 feet!

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