Monthly Archives: January 2012
This is my favorite project from this month’s STEM Fair. A student of mine decided to build CO2 Rocket cars. I loved building one of these in middle school. I distinctly remember my simple teardrop design coming in last and remarking – well, that’s unfair. I didn’t know I could do THAT! – when I saw the winners thin, stretchy, leggy thing. I looked like a duck next to a greyhound.
Last time, my teacher bought a kit. This time, I chose a simple design for this piece – a pine wedge cut from a 2×4, 1/4 inch dowels as axles and wheels cut from plywood using a hole saw. A 3/4 inch Forster bit cut away the hole for a CO2 cartridge (bought at the late night supply run superstore) Walmart – shooting goods section!. My student assembled it and I rigged a firing mechanism and guide rails.
I know my next CAD/Aerospace mash – up. Gliders, racing boats, rocket cars…any other type of fluid dynamics we need to cover?
Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend.
In the Spring of 2012, I began my third year as a classroom teacher. I planned on teaching the courses below. It didn’t happen. Instead of a woodshop/technology resource, I became a project-oriented classroom teacher. I taught 6th grade Math/Science & MS/9th Grade Math/Science and took part in two environmental education program periods. The pace (four classes, no planning periods, co-teaching nearly everything) forced me to create or find flexible curriculum, taught me the value of three week (half a quarter) units and helped me become a stronger teacher.
The breakdown of what I wanted to teach after the jump.
Yesterday, we completed a physics demonstration: The adjustable see-saw. This seesaw has holes drilled into the balancing beam, allowing students/users to experiment with the capabilities of numerous levers. You just shift its position along the beam and viola! Instantly, a foolish grin hits your face as you try to balance anew.
More pictures after the jump…
I’ve built a few picture frames over the last two years. I’ve enjoyed the process and the opportunity work some hard wood. With all walnut, maple, white oak and red oak scraps I’ve been making I should have raw materials for an entire house! It takes about an hour to make the frame, but years of hard work to get the family right.
In other news, my home workshop has entered into a serious slowdown mode until May. I will not be showing any big projects out of the home shop, although work will be cool. I’m buying my own house this spring and that means the workshop will be moved to a second location…it also means I will get the chance to re-vamp, re-configure and re-vitialize my woodworking space. Should get interesting.
Spring 2012 is here! I have just a (few) new classes. A quick rundown after the jump:
After my quick reflections on the Tea Box project and my computer science course, I’d like to take a spin over to my most successful, challenging and rewarding class(es) this semester. I had the opportunity to teach 2 CAD courses with a great, energetic group of young men (and one woman). As the year progressed my classes split into three distinct groups – a developmentally young (think elementary-school-age brains) group, a progressing (middle-school-age brains) and a developmentally-ready (high school or middle school) group.
In this course, students will create and build physical and digital representations of the world around them. Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development will frame the instruction to the appropriate cognitive developmental level for each student. Computer Assisted Design is the use of computers and specialized software to create digital objects; be they animations, skyscrapers or the interiors of engines. Students will use Google Sketch Up 8 to re-create and re-imagine the world around them, beginning with a floor-plan of their bedroom and ending with a self-directed project.
What made this course successful? My answer after the jump.