Egg Head Helmet Project’s a um, smash…
About 95% of my crazy social 8th graders had both a helmet aka egg drop container AND the write-up required for participation. Most of them had tried it out at home and used re-cycled materials. And some of them were actively wondering about how to apply the physics concepts to explain their container, or to make a better one. The car crash dvd with the emphasis on crumple zone and slower deceleration resulting in less force seemed to come to life (or, um save the life) as they designed their egg helmets.
How to weave curriculum topics and projects around each other?
Should you wait until you’ve taught them every last piece of the puzzle? By which time, it’s usually, yow, 1 week before the end of the year and a big, bad rush sucking the joy out of the whole thing. So no, that doesn’t usually work for me.
Instead, I’m having to take the plunge and assign projects before and during when we are covering relevant curriculum. Yes, it’s a bit uncomfortable for my ‘A’ students especially. But it’s also kind of cool to be talking about a concept in class and see them make the connection to their project after the fact. “Oh, f=ma is why it’s better to pad the helmet softly, instead of packing it too tight with paper.” Well, that’s what I’d like to hear. And maybe will next week when we do Newton’s second law in depth.
I’ll have to do the same with the Sports Project – an almost infinite amount of mechanics involved in the wide variety of sports they play, can’t possibly cover it all. Plus it’s better to have a highly relevant project due around the end of the unit. Makes a great finale, brings it all together.
We have to start TAP and the Problems with Oil Projects in January/February to have time for the fails, the recoveries, exploration of ideas, scheduling of events around busy family calendars and for them to have time to have fun with it, time to do a great job and feel the satisfaction that goes with that.
Time. Fun. Stuff we need to plan for, and put into practice.