Thursday, 22 March 2012

Simple Machines Inquiry - My Initial Planning

Affordable computers have great potential to stimulate creativity and develop excellent problem-solving skills.

Thinking about my next Unit of Inquiry. This one is all about Machines.


I want to tap into the current craze amongst my Grade 5 students which is Minecraft. I am thinking that I will get the students to create a roller coaster in Minecraft that doesn't use any power rails and the challenge will be to see how many hills the mine cart can travel over with only the using the motion from down the initial inclined plane.

We can measure the height of the slope by counting how many blocks high it is. I would then like to translate this into a real live activity by getting the students to create a marble run in the shared area between the classrooms using a flexible hose and marbles of different weights. We could try to compare the two by making a decision based on a scale that one Minecraft block equals so many centimeters. This is based on the height of our roof which would allow a maximum height of 3.5 M. I'm going to try creating a roller coaster tonight in Minecraft that is 35 blocks high to see how far it gets me.

Given that Minecraft uses a mine cart and the marble run uses a marble we need to scale it down. Perhaps we could compare the height of a mine cart with a marble to get a better break down? I'll leave those decisions for the students.

Here is a great example of what I hope to re-create.



For my second hands-on I would like to start by using Angry Birds online to explore a catapult and then get the students to make their own catapults. We will start by throwing soccer balls of different weights to see how far it will go. This we can then compare to using a catapult.

Here is a You Tube video of what we hope to create.

Actually I am still planning this but I do like to leave certain things open to happen in the moment. I'll certainly post about it when we get started.

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