Week 3: Pressure

I love the way this pressure week came together.  (link to Pressure concept guide)

The week started with students watching this:  https://youtu.be/ud7w4nHgS0E

As a table they wrote a simile describing what happened to the head in deep pressures and drew a picture to go with it.  Their similes were creative and fun. I honestly had takeaways from this 15 minute focus activity on its own.

  • EL students have a hard time with similes and needed a surprising amount of support. I got to teach English and am honored to have the opportunity
  • This simile was engaging and easily used as a thread to focus the students from Monday to Friday.  Pleasantly surprised.

The demonstrations were simple for the lab but still led to students visibly, audibly questioning their world picture.  I am so glad I had the students try writing a claim, evidence, reason as their reflection again.  This time I guided the students to take notes on their lab and quiz more directly and reminded them that it would make writing their reflection easy.  I also gave them sentence frames and an example that aligned with the notes they took.  Honestly their reflections were beautiful!  I am so excited to push them to the next level.

On a side note I was reminded how amazing it is to have a co-teacher that has your back and is on the same page as you. This week Grant was out sick for two days and although he had subs it was just not the same.

Week 2: Moon and Tides

This week students looked into how tidal forces leads to ocean tides and why that matters.  The highlight from this week was the student videos and the first water test.

link to moon and tide guide

Social media post:

“This week in PiSTEAM at seaside high school we explored how celestial bodies effect tides. Students made movies using physical models to describe moon/tide interactions. At the end of the week we did our first poolside buoyancy test. Next week we are moving onto pressure and ballast research. It is easier to teach when the students are driven to reach the end of week goals. ”

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Lessons learned:

  • Students love getting outside
  • Plan a pace for student ROV testing (time limits, sign up sheets?)
  • Provide an example for video assignments
  • Use class passport/stamp system as a gatekeeper
  • Plan time for cleanup

Week 1: Buoyancy

The first challenge we gave the students was to make a frame for their ROV.   (link to challenge).  If you are interested in seeing the planning form that led to the decisions we made for this challenge click on this link.

The first concept we asked students to take on was buoyancy.  Whiteboard warmup for the week was a discussion and reflection on the limitations and capabilities of an air/water ROV.  (link to Concept guide for buoyancy)

Social media post:

“This week in physical science and tech class (PiSTEAM) we started our ROV build.

We investigated how to control buoyancy, cut our PVC pipe and put together our first limited frame design. Students are also reading The Life and Death of Monterey Bay. The energy, engagement and enthusiasm were up this week. Excited for the next.”

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Teacher lessons learned:

  • Small groups work SOOO much better
  • Give a purpose to using the quiz study guide beyond taking the quiz
  • Give sentence frames for the claim evidence reason
  • Make sure instructions for the build section are clear and specific
  • In smaller groups the students feel freer to show their excitement and get engaged in what seems simple
  • High expectations lead to higher engagement.

Underwater ROV project is here!

This semester we are taking on the challenge of designing an ROV to collect data for an experiment designed to study the ocean so that we can better care for it.  This is a huge task with many parts.  To make things easier we have divided the challenge into 8 different challenges (link to syllabus describing course design).

To get students invested we had them review and discuss videos on ROV usefulness/purpose and a live demonstration from our schools robotics club.

quote from a social media post:

“Our last project of the year is “The Human Impact on Monterey Bay” and we have our entry event in the bag! We will be investigating and designing ways that humans can be better stewards of the ocean. Building ROVs to collect data will be one of our big things.

Thankyou Seaside High School Baybots robotics team for showing us the diversity of robots and the people that work with them. I think you may have some new recruits.”

Personal note:  Our robotics team is amazing.  The confidence they have to stand in front of a group of 70 peers and troubleshoot/talk about robots is inspiring.  Growing up as a female I didn’t have readily available role models  in engineering or science.  Having guest speakers that look and sound like my students provides them with those positive role models I desired as a child.


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