Neil's News

Classroom Engagement

17 December 2019

Beverly's school encourages parents to come in and talk to the class. I've been a regular visitor, bringing age-appropriate science.

A quarter moon always makes a good target to aim my telescope at. A number of kids had never noticed that the moon was visible during the day.

Intelino make a fun smart train that can be programmed by snapping coloured tiles onto the tracks. Two trains trains running on the same track -- programmed by preschoolers -- produces 'exciting' results.

I brought in a Helium tank and the class did a project where they wrote notes, attached them to balloons, and sent them into the sky. Of course the teachers and I all had to demonstrate what Helium does to voices.

Coke and Mentos is a fun combination to play with. I 3D printed some nozzles, bought a 2-litre bottle of Diet Coke for each kid, and somehow managed to not get anyone drenched in soda.

The class was talking about rockets, so I brought in my Saturn V model. We walked though the entire Apollo flight profile, from liftoff, through TLI, landing, rendezvous, splashdown, and recovery.

Since I'm a fan doing things, not just talking, I gave every kid the opportunity to launch their own water rocket in the playground.

I've got a few more things planned for the new year, including spicing up their PE class by having the kids chase my drone around the field, and making ice cream with dry ice (once the weather gets warmer). Got any other geeky activities you'd like to suggest?

And on a related note, the class has a mascot that each kid takes home for the weekend. Last weekend was Beverly's turn. We made a trip report.

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