New school year = new engineering challenges in Moore County!
After a short summer break, we welcomed our students back into our buildings this month to start the new school year. As kids have come back, it's been exciting to see that their knowledge and motivation around engineering and problem solving have not been sapped in any way over the break- in fact, we're starting to see some momentum from last year carry into this year!
On the older spectrum, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting a 6th grade class already this year, as the DIF team is now taking our engineering thread into the middle grades this school year. The first class I was able to visit was Ms. Willis's class at Southern Middle School. She worked with DIF Beth Alderson on the "Whatever floats your boat" engineering project that focuses on the core concepts of density (always a tricky one for 6th graders).
Students were given free roam to plan around and choose various materials to create a boat that would hold as much mass as possible. Each material (such as styrofoam, cork, cardboard, aluminum foil, etc.) was given a pricetag and students had $1,000 to spend. After planning and building their first prototypes, they placed them into a container filled with water. They measured displacement of water as well as the amount of mass their boat held before sinking. Next, they tried their boat in a container of saltwater to record this same data.
From there, they were able to go back and re-engineer/improve their boat designs in order to hold more mass.
Students did a GREAT job in thinking through this task. A really cool part of the lesson, though, was when Ms. Alderson asked the students how many of them did engineering last year as 5th graders- almost every hand went up! It was clear that the students were comfortable with the engineering process and taking some risks of failure along the way. Very cool!
As a DIF team, we are excited to be a part of this revolution of critical thinking and problem across Moore County Schools. We look forward to sharing more stories through this blog and also don't forget to follow us on Twitter at @MCSDigital.