I teach third grade in a primarily immigrant and working-class neighborhood in southern California. My students are hard workers who are motivated to reach their goals. For example, our school has both the ST Math program and the Accelerated Reader program which motivate my students to improve in math and reading.
Most of my students are learning English as a second language.
A couple of them are receiving special education, speech and intervention services. All of them love to learn.
Thanks to DonorsChoose.org I have been able to take my last three groups of third graders on special field trips to experience something that they had never experienced previously. Three years ago we went to a local amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm, to learn about Native American life, two years ago we watched a performance of the Nutcracker ballet right before Christmas, and last year we watched a live theatrical performance of Pete the Cat.
This year I would like to take my students to Legoland California to participate in a hands-on STEM lesson on forces and motion.
Students will learn about forces, such as gravity, friction, and inertia. They will get to build a vehicle out of Legos. Then they will test their vehicle by racing each other's vehicle down a ramp. Next, they will redesign the vehicle and measure the change in performance. Finally, students will evaluate the design of the winner and offer an explanation for why it won.
Students will have an opportunity to visit the park and relate concepts that they learned to the experience of Legoland attractions.
All these STEM activities are directly related to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that third graders are expected to learn. Students will be working with the engineering design process in a fun, hands-on way.
This is sure to be a field trip the students will never forget.
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