When I look at the popularity of CO2 rocket cars in STEM programs, its ubiquity and age hide a lot of potential for makers and project-based learning opportunities. The biggest drawback, as I see it, is the high cost of entry. Launching systems cost somewhere in the hundreds of dollars, tracks take up teaching space (60 linear feet for a good one) and wind-tunnels impress upon me the fine line between awesome and inappropriate. At a basic investment of $1000 to $3000 from the big companies. We still haven’t covered the cost of a classroom pack of car building supplies.
Betcha I can do it for less. What’s a makerspace for, if not developing your own infrastructure?
In order to incorporate CO2 racers into your Maker curriculum, you need three things: cars & parts, the launcher & track space. I’ll tell you how I made mine after the jump.
Continue reading “This Week in the Classroom: Build Your Own CO2 Rocket Cars & Launching System”
I ended the year with an exploration of music. I used xylophones, pendulums and windchimes to explore frequency, wavelenght, pitch, volume, etc. I probably should have found a way to incorporate physical waves, but a trip to the beach was out of the question and I met disaster in my attempts at building a wave pool. We did, however, create a pretty sweet 2×4 xylophone and frame. Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: 2×4 Xylophone
You’ve been to a science fair, right? Tri-fold boards, volcanoes and blue ribbons. This month, my colleagues and I shepherded the “STEM Fair” into existence. The STEM Fair is a showcase for any Science, Technology, Engineering or Math project our students produced over the course of a month. My school produced forty to fifty blog posts, hundreds of digital pictures, a dozen two minute videos, thirty presentations and about ten individual physical showcases. I have a room filled with Japanese art-chemistry, rocket cars, rockets of various propulsion methods, a small robot, a Lego-Branded robot, paper gliders, a seesaw and more. … Continue reading Technology in Education: The Digital STEM Fair
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 … Continue reading STEM Project: The CO2 Rocket Car
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.
Continue reading “This Week in the Classroom: Spring 2012”
I’m knee deep in the STEM Fair. Some examples of work from my two or three classes of students. make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: STEM Fair
Spring 2012 is here! I have just a (few) new classes. A quick rundown after the jump:
Continue reading “New Year, New Classes”
In my MWF fourth period class, my students have been discovering and elaborating on the scientific method. I chose cars & ramps (aka pinewood derby car) as an opening project. We spent two weeks learning the different parts of the scientific method and how to measure our results. We create reports (I’m on my fourth week of school and the boys have created at least two science reports a week). My lessons look something like this: Intro: Pose a Question to Students. What type of Hot Wheels cars goes the farthest? How would we measure that? How do we tell … Continue reading Physics Carriages