It seems as if this Rover project has taken forever! Like the kids, I was often frustrated these last few weeks as we tried out our Little Bits, tweaked our circuits, and built and rebuilt (and rebuilt!) the insides of our Rovers so that they would work! It took lots of hard work, lots of thinking outside the box, lots of trial and error. At the end, the kids were aghast that three weeks worth of work went into one minute and thirty seconds of moving Rover. We talked about how with the real Mars Rovers, there are years and years of work involved and sometimes, the Rovers get all the way to Mars and don’t work right!
Despite all the work and all the tweaking that was involved, I think that this was a great learning experience for all. We learned about the Mars Rover, we learned about electrical circuits, and we learned about how hard scientists and engineers work! As it has been the last few weeks, our classes were very labor intensive, for me too, so there haven’t been as many pictures as usual.
So finally, everyone got to test their Rovers, but there were other neat things that went on in EXCEL as well. Everyone started their day with a brain teaser. Some of them were harder than others, depending on the grade level and how well I thought the students could incorporate figures of speech into their abstract thinking patterns. This was the first and second grade rebus puzzle.
Then in all but the fifth grade, we did a little terrafirming to get our landscapes ready to build our Mars colony. We did this by first filling our pans with sand.
Then we cut up pieces of copper sponge.
Lastly, we added water to the top of our sand and copper. With a week’s time and a little oxidation, our Mars landscape will be nice a red by next week!
Third and fourth grade, who raced their rovers last week, worked on soda straw rockets. We used our fine motor skills to build our tiny little rockets, blew into a straw to launch our rockets, and then measured the distance our rockets flew. We converted the feet into inches and did two distance trials. Then we learned about how to find the average of the two distances to declare our winner!
Next week, we’ll finish our Mars colony and be done with our unit on Mars. We’ll start our new unit, a STEAM unit, week after next!