Saturday, March 10, 2012

Race Car Rapture...

We entered into our science unit a couple of weeks ago. Our first lesson is one that I worked on collecting materials for the entire year (yikes). I am beyond excited to finally get all of this stuff I have stored for this lesson out of my room! ;)

When I searched how to make race cars out of recycled materials I found lovely images of fabulous cars at one of my most beloved art educator websites, I tried to build them her way and several other ways but in the end.....hers was the best!

In terms of building...these were pretty difficult....but a GOOD kind of difficult! I drilled holes in every cork but they had to be small enough to still be tight around the skewer (axle) or they would slip off and not hold the wheels. Because they were small, it was tough for the kids to wiggle them onto the axle.....but with perseverance and a little help from me every once in a while, we eventually got them on ;). I worked one on one with each kindergartner because I didn't want them to stick themselves. It was actually really nice because it gave me a few minutes to devote specifically to each child.

Before we started building I read "Hot Rod Hamster" illustrated by Derek Anderson to the kindergartners. It was perfect because the hamster is making a lot of choices while building his race car and it gave me the opportunity to discuss attributes that are for aesthetic value or have a functional purpose. They would be making similar choices while building their "race car". The older grades were given a power point on how a NASCAR car is built. We talked about Newton's laws of motion and will explore it further on our last racing day.

I was amazed at everything the kids came up with to put on their cars!! I had a third grader bring in a peanut shell that she turned into a driver and made a little seat for. The top picture is from an incredibly hard working kindergartner who added fire to the back of his car and a wooden contraption out of toothpicks on the top- fascinating!! Most of the photos posted here are made by kindergartners.

I built a 4 lane track that I marked at every foot. I taped the ramp to delineate the lanes and carried the lanes onto the floor. From the top of the ramp to the end of the lanes was 18 feet. While we were racing we talked a lot about inches and feet and they tracked their distance every time they raced.

When we get back from spring break we will have one final race day. I'm making "blue ribbons" so each class can make up a ribbon for each student's car. I'm looking forward to a few silly awards ;). This lesson was an insane amount of work but was MORE than worth the result. These have been a couple of the most exciting weeks out of the year so far.

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