Week 5 & 6: BGCP Pilot Program Update!
Wow, we can't believe we're nearing the end of the first quarter of our program at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. Time really flies! Since our last post two weeks ago, we've covered everything from neuroscience to engineering with our 4th and 5th graders at the BGCP Clubhouse in East Menlo Park.
We started off the second week of February exploring the wonders of our five senses. Students examined optical illusions, performed blind taste and scent tests, and more to learn how our brain gathers information.
The following day was Valentine's Day, which we celebrated by making love potions and binary hearts. Students learned all about density while layering different liquids to create their own "love potions." Some of them showed us how they treasure their potions so much that they still carry them around a couple weeks later! Students were then introduced to how computers work by learning binary and racing to decode binary letters. Using this knowledge, they then had the chance to make "binary hearts" and code their own Valentine's messages for a special someone!
The next week, we began our three part egg drop challenge to introduce the engineering design process. On the first day, students collaborated in small groups to prototype a device to protect an egg using only the limited materials provided. As they went through the first few steps of the design process, students discussed ideas like parachutes, padded carriers, and other innovations that would help soften the impact for their eggs. We then dropped their designs from a ladder to test them. Every group had a successful outcome!
Since every group was successful the first time, we introduced two new obstacles the next day to put the students' problem solving skills to work! First, we limited the materials even further. Second, we dropped their designs from the roof, double the height of the previous day's ladder drop. Unfortunately, with these new parameters, all of their eggs cracked. But next week, students will be given one more opportunity to improve on their designs based on their new engineering knowledge and their previous trials' successes and failures, which is an integral part of the design process!