Sunday, May 24, 2015

GAK! Back for More

We just wrapped up our second year making Gak with students at John Muir. Approximately 400 students, TK - 5th grade made and explored the fascinating Non-Newtonian fluid. Class discussions included examples and descriptions of liquids, solids and gases. Upper grades also talked about polymers, molecules, elements, chemicals, and chemical reactions. 
The science workshop at John Muir is a program of the New Leaf Collaborative, a 501c3 nonprofit, and is paid for through grant funding. This year, lessons on watershed stewardship and water catchment systems were sponsored by the City of Martinez, who funded our educational components on water quality, conservation and rainwater harvesting. Supplies are currently paid for through a grant from Martinez Community Foundation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fun with MakeyMakey

Students at John Muir played a Scratch piano with play-dough and a MakeyMakey. My 4th grade student helper suggested we make a CSW account for Scratch so that anyone at the workshop can use the common account to create content. She made this for me... she even took and uploaded the picture so the background would be realistic. I think it's pretty awesome.

Here is the LINK to sign your student up to participate in the John Muir Science Workshop on Wednesdays from 1:30 - 3:00.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

John Swett Scribblebots

John Swett workshop goers in March worked in groups to make robots that scribbled - affectionately called scribblebots. Students were challenged to add switches or change the direction of their bot. My goal, to keep all students tinkering, thinking, laughing or otherwise meaningfully engaged throughout the duration of the workshop - was easily met. I even learned something new from a curious young tinkerer; when a brown Mr. Sketch pen is attached to the end of a spinning motor, your friends - and everything else within several feet wind up freckled.

Upon the request of this young engineer, I shared the video with his mom, and now with you as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today was awesome. A few students were making paper plate hovercrafts last week & we just weren't that impressed with the outcome. I asked the director over at Excelsior Science Workshop for some tips, & he pointed me to a much larger version of the hovercraft. Thanks Sol.

Quote for the day: "I am going to be an engineer." 

Thank you Martinez Community Foundation for making projects like this possible! Also thanks to Martinez Home Depot for donating your scrap wood. We appreciate it.