Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Engaging with Tech Before Building Our Stream Table

As we finish up our Earth Science unit, I'm so excited to bust out our last engineering project. It involves using a stream table and saving a Lego village! Maybe a bit silly, but I think the 8th graders could totally use this type of challenge in December!

If you don't know what a stream table is...

This one is from a company, and costs close to $300. A little too much for my budget. ;)

So, the kids are helping to change my former Lego table into a stream table...
After adding the pond liner, hoses, and sediment, this table will be ready to go!

To generate excitement and help students develop some prior knowledge, I set up some lessons meant to ENGAGE!

Students submitted plans for the stream table layout last week on paper or by creating drawings in various apps. Here are a couple of favorites...

We jumped into the concept this week with some fun simulations!

Students were able to adjust the slope, vegetation level, and rain intensity to see the amount of soil erosion. They blogged about their findings, and we discussed the implications for our stream table. 

We used an app called Wind Tunnel to look at how particles move.
Students had 10 minute of pure explore time with the app! Phenomenal ideas, really cool observations, and just fun time was had the day before Thanksgiving break starting!

This video shows our explore time work...

Here are some student blog posts. While there isn't much science language in the blog posts, we have definitely started the conversation, peaked interest, and engaged! The science understanding will develop through play (stream table) and revisiting the concept!

All of these activities are leading up to the stream table work that will explore erosion/deposition and engineering principles to prevent soil loss. Students will work in teams to build structures to slow down the process and prevent a Lego community from destruction! And, yes...we will revisit the Wind Tunnel app as we go to check our understanding.


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