Although they may look like glued together piles of junk, rest assured our students were immensely proud of their Push and Pull Machines. In yet another Scrapheap Challenge, this one at the commencement of our science unit on forces, students’ teamwork skills were put to the test to design a device which incorporated both a push and pull force.
Miss M’s Grade 4 class were learning about contact and non-contact forces. As a tuning-in activity, students were given a paperclip, a magnet and a shoebox lid. Their design brief was to create a maze for their paperclip to travel through, guided by the non-contact force of the magnet. Of course, things got pretty creative straight away with water jumps, tunnels, bridges and race tracks incorporated into plans. This exploration phase of the lesson raised many questions for the budding scientists, which they later went on to test (Will the paperclip make it up the slope with a stronger magnet? Will magnetic force work in water?). They only had 20 minutes to complete the task, but they would have happily worked on their designs all day.
To celebrate the end of our science unit on forces we performed our own version of the Cantina scene from Star Wars. This ‘deleted scene’ focussed on Luke Skywalker’s quest for the meaning of the force with various aliens providing ‘educational’ suggestions. Of course it was an excellent opportunity for artistic set design and prop making. Check out this paper Chewbacca mask and fully robotic R2D2 (powered by a remote control car). All credit to Mr Jensen, another incredible prac student, and his team of diehard student helpers for the amazing R2!