Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Beauty of a Challenge

 Looking for inspiration for projects that work best for K through 5, I reached out to the Excelsior Science Workshop in SF and talked to Michael, who said his go-to was a challenge - the egg drop is the best he said. He was right. Thanks Michael! I had 20 kids today and every single design was completely different. Each team had one bag, newspaper, one piece of string, cardboard and tape. At the end of the day, we miraculously only had 3 broken eggs. Theses were from teams who had successful first drops and tried something different the next time around. As always we had some kids that just wanted to tinker and make their own creations and that's fun too, but I'm definitely bringing back the challenge next week. Good times today a the John Muir Science Workshop!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tinkering Basics

Today, our after school tinkerers made science journals, sewed finger puppets, took apart a 5 disc CD changer, made a few flying machines, played on our electromagnetic wall, checked out some bones and one persistent 2nd grade girl was determined to finish a creepy crawler - video below. One student declared to me he was going to be a scientist when he grew up.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sewing Journals

 Everybody should learn how to sew. Simply by threading a needle & stitching material together you can MAKE (bags, toys, books, costumes), REPAIR (socks, shirts, stuffed animals, whatever) all while giving your brain a shot at being CREATIVE. Sewing is a really fun way to tinker so I thought I'd kick off this year's Wednesday Workshop by introducing needles & thread. We made Thinking Journals, for ideas, projects, notes, mind maps or doodles  - following this basic design instructable  courtesy of English Drawings. It took a while but theses kids were persistent and really just couldn't wait to decorate their journals, count the pages & talk about what they'd write in them. Some secured their journals using magnets and I sent one girl home with a watch battery, a red LED & some paperclips so she can wire a circuit so the red light will go off when someone opens her journal.
We're going to keep this theme going for a bit and see where our ideas take us.