On Friday, a group of 11 year 7 and 8 students visited The Mindlab in Petone.
We went along to see what it's all about and have a session with their robots. Boys were either in pairs or worked on their own. The robots and programming was quite different to the Lego Mindstorms at school and the boys enjoyed the challenge of learning a new programme and thinking in a slightly different way to what they are used to.
After the robotics session, Malcolm showed us around the rest of the Mindlab. The boys got to check out the 3D printers, the sets for the stop motion animation and they heard about the augmented reality and MaKey MaKey.
The boys had a great morning and really enjoyed their visit.
We're already looking forward to our next trip back - thanks very much Mindlab for having us!
Last Thursday I took four students to the Dowse Art Gallery to compete in the very first Hutt STEMM Schools Challenge. It was a quiz for schools to compete in their knowledge about science, technology, engineering, mathematics and manufacturing.
Andrew, Toby, Sam and Max were up against nine other Year 7 and 8 teams from various schools in the Hutt Valley.
Four of the rounds consisted of a range of questions from 'How many bones are in a shark?' to 'What does H2O stand for?' The boys did really well and it was a close race between them and one other school. One other round involved the students using a range of skills. They had to mix hot and cold water to as close as 37 degrees possible without using a thermometer, they had to cut a length of paper to as close to one meter without using any measuring device. Andrew had to stop and start a blacked out stopwatch to as close to one minute - he did pretty well with a time of 59.83sec.
In the end the boys won the competition by just three points. All the students from all of the schools looked like they enjoyed themselves and it was great to be in a room full of kids having fun with science.
The boys won a lovely cup and much to their excitement, a box of chocolates and some vouchers.
Last year I completed the Teaching Primary Science certificate through the Open Polytech. This year, the course has been nominated for a Prime Ministers Excellence in Education award. Through the Ministry of Education and The Open Polytech, a short film had to be made to highlight the course. The tutor asked for a few schools to volunteer and as a result, a small group of Year Six students and myself did some science under the close watch of a camera and a director. It was lots of fun and the boys enjoyed being part of a film.
Now, we're just keeping our fingers crossed for the tutor and the science course.
We have been really lucky to have a parent come into school and talk about his job - filming eruptions all over the world.
Mike arrived in his special suit and shared some really amazing clips and footage that he has filmed, as well as some other really amazing footage that the boys found very interesting.
He talked about pyroclastic eruptions and showed us this clip;
He went on to talk about different types of eruptions and different kinds of volcanoes. The boys asked loads of questions and Mike answered them all in such a great way that he kept every class totally engrossed for every session.
The boys, and teachers, really enjoyed his visit and we all learnt so much. Thank you Mike for coming in and sharing your exciting experiences and interesting knowledge. Hopefully you will come back soon and share your interesting knowledge about earthquakes!
Year Three have been learning all about heat and they've certainly got to work like scientists.
After learning all about how to use a thermometer and sharing their ideas about heat, we got stuck into an investigation which looked into different temperature water and what happened when we added some dye. It was great to see the boys willing to make some predictions and then we were ready to go.
Each group had three different beakers with cold water, room temperature water and hot water. Then a small amount of dye was added to each beaker. The boys carefully observed what happened and then sketched what they saw.
After the experiment boys were able to talk about how they could see the dye moving around a lot in the hot water, some even saw the dye rise to the top and then begin to sink back down to the bottom of the beaker. There was lots of great observations made, careful recording and some great explanations followed. Great work Year Three!
It's always fun having the junior classes in the science room.
This term Year Two have been learning all about light and colour. We've done all sorts of fun investigations using torches, mirrors, magnifying glasses and lots of things around our room to learn all about opaque, transparent and translucent. The boys had lots of great ideas and it was fun to explore these and learn some new ideas.
We ended the sessions with making some shadow puppets which some of the boys shared and put on little plays for the class - just delightful!. We also made some colour spinners once we had talked all about the rainbow and the colour of light.
One of the Year Six classes (60) had their first session of robotics.
With much enthusiasm, noise and cheers, in a short space of time they managed to produce their very own mexican wave - robot style!
Year Five have been busy in class learning all about Changing Landforms. They've found out about tectonic plates, layers in the earth and all the different ways that our land is formed. As part of their unit I was asked to come up with an activity to help reinforce some of their new learning.
We decided to focus on weathering and erosion and after learning about that, the boys got into groups and made a model of our school grounds - the bank at the back and the gentle slope down to the beach. We built the surface up with firstly rock and dirt which we packed down to represent the hard surface. We then covered the surface with sand to represent the top layer of soil. Each group then got to model the effects of rain and wind - using sprinkled water and hairdryers!
We carefully observed the effects of both and it was great to see the boys beginning to make some really good observations of the channels the water carved through the sand, how the sand was carried and blown further than the rock, how the sand usually ended up being blown into the same places and how the higher areas began to shrink in height.
After we made our observations and applied our thinking to the everyday world, we were ready for another experiment. This time the boys added shapes to their models to represent buildings, forests and roadways. This time they were asked to observe and look for any differences that the man made structures made on the surface of our models.
Using models, the boys got to investigate the effects of wind and rain. Through observation they were able to come up with some really excellent ideas about erosion and what we need to do to help slow down its effects. Well done Year Five!
The last couple of sessions for the year six electricity unit, were based around exploring static electricity and then applying their new knowledge to construct a simple torch using a limited amount of equipment.
For the static electricity investigations, the classroom was set up into seven different stations. At each station, the boys had to do an activity using static charge and then answer a couple of questions or draw a quick sketch of what they saw happening. Activities included getting a can to roll without touching it, making paper jump around on it's own, bending water, moving tin foil on its own as well as a couple of different experiments using balloons.
The boys had lots of fun creating and playing with static electricity. It was great to see many of them beginning to think like scientists and beginning to understand the basic concepts of atoms, electrons and protons and the charge that they carry. Well done Year Six!
In the last session, the boys were paired up and each given a couple of wires, 2 batteries, a bulb, some tin foil, a piece of card and a roll of tape. Using the knowledge they had learned from the previous lessons, they had to construct a simple torch that they could turn off and on.