Preparing for Robotics

Preparing for Robotics
Students at DC's Whittier Educational Campus with ReSET Volunteer Peter Mehrevari

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

US PTO Volunteers Third Grade Report - Candy Bridges

Hi ReSETers,

I wanted to thank our amazing volunteers who was able to join us at our experiment last Tuesday and especially to welcome one of our new members, Abra Fein, who joined us for her first trip to Whittier and did a great job.

The experiment went very well and the students, as always, had a wide variety of bridge designs and didn’t try to eat too much of the candy until afterwards.  This year we added a new part to the experiment where we used different books having different weights to put on top of the bridges, which provided an excuse for the students to do some additional math when determining how much weight their bridges could hold.  This addition was based on feedback we received from the teachers last year on trying to incorporate  more practical skills into the experiments, for example reinforcing math skills, and we will continue to do so throughout the remaining year.

We are looking forward to our next experiment this coming December, one of my personal favorites – Dry-Ice Ice Cream.  We will be having the dry run for the experiment on Tuesday Dec. 10, followed by the experiment the following week on Tuesday Dec. 17.  Of all the experiments, this one generally requires the most volunteers to make sure the dry-ice is used safely, and so even if you haven’t been able to join us for the experiments so far, we’d love to see you for this experiment, plus the ice cream is always good!

Hope everyone is doing great and happy Thanksgiving week.

Pete, Danielle and Robert

ReSET US PTO Volunteers' Report - 3rd grade fingerprinting

Hi ReSETers,

This is something new we’d like to try out this year to keep everyone updated on the continued success of our outreach.  If reality shows can provide weekly recaps, I think we should be able to for 5 experiments each semester.

Since the beginning of PTOS ReSET three years ago, we have remained committed to the Whittier Educational Campus, a STEM school, in NE DC, and we are continuing that tradition this year.  We had our first experiment of the fall semester this past Tuesday, October 8th, with a new class of third grade students.  There are two 3rd grade classrooms this year, led by Ms. Mann (who we’ve worked with for a few years) and a band new teacher, Ms. Marryshow, with approximately 20 students in each classroom.

Being our first interaction with these students, we spent the first bit introducing ourselves and the USPTO.  While many students had a basic understand of what an invention and an inventor was, this was their first exposure to the idea of intellectual property, how it is protected and why such protection is important.  We followed introductions with the fingerprinting experiment.  The students were successfully able to take their own fingerprints using an oil based pad, put a print on a glass like surface, lift that print using actual fingerprinting powder and a brush, and compare that lifted print to the prints they had already taken and other students’ prints, and conclude their prints were unique.

We also introduced a new teaching tool this year, a large laminated chart listing the elements of the scientific method. Volunteers and students will be filling out this chart for each experiment to reinforce the concepts of scientific and innovative thinking.  In addition, we have been asked by the 3rd grade teachers to try to add some multiplication and measuring into our experiments to assist them with some of the specific skills these students will need by the end of the year.

Finally, I want to applaud our amazing volunteers who made this experiment a success and we look forward to those who were not able to make this experiment to join us for the next exciting opportunity.  The more volunteers we have, the better we’re able to connect with the students and instill these valuable ideas of science and innovation appreciation at such a young age.  Our next experiment will be on solar cars and different types of energy. The dry-run will be Tuesday, October 22 with the experiment to follow the week after on October 29.

Thanks for everyone’s dedicated work,

Pete, Danielle and Robert

ReSET Volunteer Bob Hauptman's Head Start Report

I am meeting with four and five year olds in Head Start, every other Tuesday, starting at 2:30, for a little over a half hour.  So far, we've met twice.  The first time, we did fossils and playdoh impressions.  The activity captured their attention and they enjoyed making the impressions.  The second time, we did sound.  I started with a small guitar like instrument, with four metal fingers, each of which is plucked to create four separate notes.  They then plucked taut rubber bands and string, to demonstrate vibration and sound.  The piece de resistance was going out to the hallway to play with the string/can phones.  They were ecstatic and couldn't get enough of it.  It seems to work best with a small number of children.  We did five, and I will continue to limit it to that number.  Each time we meet, we will perform the same activities, in groups of four or five children, until everybody has had an opportunity to participate.  The key is that they are all very excited, that is all I could hope to accomplish.  I hope that there are some lasting effects.

Bob Hauptman