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.
With our extremely talented, sculptor-by-trade, prac student, Miss Purcell, our students were inspired by an art table filled with colourful, cellphones, tissue papers, glitters, straws, pipe cleaners, paints and other Scrapheap materials. The base for their spring flowers was a paper plate. As part of our science unit on living things and life cycles students had learnt the parts of a flower – stamen, petals, pistil and sepal, and were asked to incorporate these features into their sculptures.
My students love to be given creative technology group work challenges, which we call Scrapheap Challenges. We gather up reusable household items such as cereal boxes, cardboard cylinders, bottle tops, etc and once our stockpiles are sufficient its time for another Scrapheap Challenge! Besides setting group work goals, our only two rules are: don’t burn yourselves on the glue gun and the teacher does the tricky cutting. This one was undertaken at Easter time. The brief – design a harmless Easter Bunny trap. The results – adorable.