Thursday, March 1, 2012

Newton Racers

This one is for the teacher files. 
Two weeks ago, one of my brilliant co-workers decided my students needed a hands-on project to learn about the three laws of motion. It should be known that I am one of those teachers who loves projects. I think projects are the meat of education. Homework, tests, quizzes, those are the potatoes. If you want to test your students knowledge, if you want to see their creativity, if you want to see if they can take what you have taught them and apply it to a higher level... ASSIGN A PROJECT. My students LOVED this project. 
I asked them to design a race car that must be powered by balloons and has wheels made out of something that was not originally meant to be a wheel. The only other rule was that it had to travel at least 5 meters if you wanted full credit. 
Today was race day! And I think there was more anticipation than the Daytona 500. My little 6th graders were so excited and the 7th and 8th graders who passed by cheered them on and high-fved them. My kids thought they were rock stars. 
The winning car traveled 22 meters! It was made from styrofoam, CDs for wheels, and powered by a single balloon with a straw filling the role of an exhaust pipe. It was awesome!

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