Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rubber Band Rollers

A special class this evening marked the end of my Elementary Math/Science ed. course. For the "final" exam students are required to construct a Rubber Band Roller (RBR) which is a sort of vehicle powered by a rubber band. All you need is a cylinder of some sort, a pencil, a rubber band and some ingenuity. To get an A for the project the RBR needs to make one revolution. Anything else is an F, something that happens very rarely. But, it takes a lot more thought than you think to make a RBR make one revolution let alone travel over 20 feet as some of them did this evening.

Design Technology is an oft forgotten subject area in the elementary school curriculum even though there are standards for it in the Vital Results section of the Grade Level Expectations. Basically, it is the application of the science we know to the solution of problems. In science, the questions relate to the natural world such as what is energy, how does magnetism work, what do plants need to grow, and what causes the seasons? In design technology we use our knowledge of science to solve problems or make our lives better. Refrigerators would be bare if someone hadn't invented refrigerator magnets; we would still be using chalk boards if someone hadn't invented the white board and later the SMARTboard. Almost every gadget, machine, device, or thing we use in our lives is the result of Design Technology. Someone sat down and used some aspect of science to create something.

To make things a little more interesting in the class there are competitions; whose RBR goes the furthest? whose is the fastest?, and this year, a request from the students to have a competition to find out whose is the most creative. There were some really exciting moments especially in the speed competition where a really close run off between Olivia and Katie was finally won by Katie. The distance race was won by Molly L who managed to get her RBR to go almost right across the classroom and back again. The most creative award went, fittingly, to Corey T. our "art major in residence". Actually, all the students were winners because they approached the activity with so much caring and passion which, after all, is what teaching is all about. A well deserved A for everyone.

1 comment:

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