Thursday, February 2, 2017
Back to school...
Steph and Dan are teaching in a different school district this year. Alas, they are not co-teaching, each in different schools about a mile apart. Today, we volunteered in Steph's class; hoping we get to check out Dan's situation in a brand new school.
General Motors has a program available for science teachers - the premise is: kids get to design and build a "gravity powered" (think: lever) vehicle. I wasn't sure what to expect until we actually got to school today... the vehicles are small, you can hold them in two hands... made out of a sturdy foam material. Well, each team of kids designs what their "vehicle" will look like.
Our job today was to give guidance, ask questions that would get each team thinking about the design, but not do the work for them. The program here has been going for a couple weeks, and today was about testing the concept to see if any of the teams could get their vehicle to actually move on its own power. There were some successes... and some "learning experiences." Not easy to guide them into making decisions, and not just saying what they need to make it work.
For the record, 4 of the 5 teams I worked with got some movement out of their vehicles. One that moved fast, but not far... in a few weeks, they will be competing for distance. It was fun seeing some of the kids get to that "Aha! stage" where they have an understanding of how the whole thing works. And, but the same token, there were some that wanted to make changes to their design before they ever tried it, and others who had no idea what was going on.
This entire venture is great for their team building and problem solving skills.
Those white structures in the photo above are the "gravity cruisers."
I asked Steph when we pick up paychecks... not sure about the guys from GM, but apparently the "volunteer" thing in our job description means this will not affect our tax bracket.
Yes, we have to be background checked for this. We have been through that plenty with our jobs (and my licenses). I like to make Steph nervous by asking things like, "It says here 'convicted of any crime'... they're not asking about indicted, though, right?" ;-)
It is always a treat to get to see our daughter working with her students.