4th graders in iTEAMS classrooms will be working on a gravity car design challenge this Spring using the Sonoma Raceway Race Car Challenge curriculum. Included below are links to videos used by various 4th grade teachers.
4th graders at San Pedro School... parachutes! To introduce the concepts and vocabulary of gravity and air resistance or drag.
The students looked at how toy cars, balls, and marbles roll on different surfaces and inclines. What made a difference? How much the incline? How much the car weighed? What types of surfaces worked better? The students used surfaces around the playground (slides, blacktop, inclined cement surfaces, grass, inclined grass, flat cement, etc) to test out their theories. Discussion about friction and aerodynamics followed.
Aerodynamics and drag. Students did a close reading with the passages from Sonoma Raceway. The took a field trip to the parking lot to discover cars that were more and less aerodynamic. They drew pictures of the most aerodynamic cars and included airflow with arrows.
Since the class is still collecting materials for their cars, a lesson was needed to "fill in." This lesson was a perfect fit. It gave the students an opprotunity to design and re-deisgn on a smaller scale and learn more about cars and another aspect that effects their movement: wheels. (This came from the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) free resource "Go Green! Recycled Racers").
Building a racer. The students created a racer from a set of directions. This gave them the a certain understanding of some of the things they need to consider when they build their own car. It helps to give some common ground for all students to start with.
Build their OWN racers!
Students use all they have learned in the previous lesson to build, test, redesign, build, test, redesign until race day. Picture below are from Manor School and San Pedro.
Design Day Mary E. Silveira with Gina Tanner and Ed Malaret
More pictures form Manor School in Ross Valley with Mary Accord as they build and test!
Building Day at Wade Thomas in Ross Valley with Jenny Cavanna's class!
Race Day at Ross Valley Schools! 4th grade students from three elementary schools, Wade Thomas, Brookside, and Manor, come together for a final race!
Wade Thomas come out as champions!
Molly O'Donoghue used another unit to start of her racers, "I started off my racers unit with a simple design challenge to build a mover that could carry a match box 5 feet. Groups had to work together."
iTEAMS is a professional development research project designed to provide teachers with support to deepen their content knowledge and pedagogy to promote STEM education aligned to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).