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Spring SAVY 2020: Day 3 – Creative Contraptions w/Ms. Polk (3rd/4th)

Posted by on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Hello SAVY parents!

Saturday’s session was packed with lots of learning of engagement. This week we learned about our first simple machine, the lever.  The students were able to watch a video that demonstrated to them the three types of levers. In each lever the position of the fulcrum was the determining factor for the amount of effort that was required to lift the load.  Students were able to identify various levers and explain how levers make work easier in our everyday lives. The students were then presented with the lever challenge.  The objective was to move a tennis ball from the table to the center of a roll of masking tape.  The only materials used included a tennis ball, ruler, marker, and masking tape. The rules of not using hands to move the ball to the goal and the ball not being secured to the lever made the challenge most difficult.  One group succeeded in getting the ball into the goal with as a little as six attempts!

Next, the students began to learn about the pulley.  Pulleys were also described to the students as a simple machine that make life easier by allowing us to raise and lower heavy things.  We used a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the benefits of a fixed pulley versus a moveable pulley. This discussion lead to the opportunity for another challenge!  Volunteers were asked to create a pulley system to lift a gallon of water with the following items: broom and string.  The first attempt quickly proved that a fixed pulley was not the best option to lift the jug.  Another group of volunteers were able to adjust the design from the first group’s attempt and successfully demonstrated how the moveable pulley was a better option.

Finally, I discussed with the students two more simple machines: wheel and axle and the inclined plane.  We watched a video that helped the students to get a visual representation of each of the simple machines.  Inclined planes were defined as a flat surface that is higher at one end than the other.  When a car is held at the top an inclined plane it has potential energy. When a car is traveling down an inclined plane, it has kinetic energy. In a wheel and axle, if the wheel has separate axles, they can be steered more easily.  The Big Wheel challenge allowed the students to design a wheel and axle with the following materials: four paper plates, pencil, string, and glue.  It was so amazing to see the students design and redesign their models so that the final product would stand sturdy and roll along the surface with a simple pull.

I was really proud of the students that were able to present the Lever Challenge and the Big Wheel Challenge at Open House!  I’m also proud of all the students because of their willingness to learn and the creativity shown throughout the course.  Thank you so much for being a part of this program. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again at Summer SAVY!

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