My students are wonderful 8th graders. I am an AVID Teacher. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. The goal for this elective is to help all of my students get to college and graduate. I work in a Title I school.
Many of my students come from poverty, yet all of my students are excited about going to college.
They have college plans. They have wonderful dreams and believe they will achieve them. We're exposing them to as many opportunities as possible to make this happen.
Our class has been selected to receive instruction from an engineering PhD student about space missions. As part of this, the core project activity will center around each individual student building their own robotic arm! The additional activities will revolve around the creative construction of some component of a space mission: a habitat, a heat shield, a landing capsule, and a parachute. We received a grant to pay for the arms, but we still need other materials to complete the project.
My guest instructors's NASA fellowship pays for him to visit our classroom only this semester; this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my students to learn about space from someone with real experience.
Each student has their own robotic arm to build this semester. A screwdriver for each student gives them the independence to build at their own pace during lessons; it will be a valuable experience for them. The taskboards will act as the building surface for the remaining projects and materials for walls. The wood sticks will act as structural materials for the remaining projects. The glue dots will act as adhesive to keep the structures together. The cloth, combined with string we already have, will help the students create "landing parachutes" and learn about the physics of wind resistance. The cotton balls will act as insulation material for our "heat shield" lesson and as cushioning for our "landing capsule" lesson. They will also act as insulation for our "Mars Habitat" lesson.
The materials here, combined with our current materials, will allow my engineering student instructor to teach lessons which my students would otherwise never encounter. I have seen their interest pique in just a few short introductory lessons; imagine their excitement when they actually start building!
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