Technology News: June 2013

Technology News

2/3 Technology

This month’s technology classes have been integrated with the 2/3 science curriculum. Students are currently studying Energy: Sound & Light in science, and all the technology activities for this month have been based on those same concepts.

The first week, we learned about how sound travels, and built sound-transmission devices. Below is a photo of 2 students testing theirs out:

Photo 2013-05-31 09.21.39 AM

We also used an interactive simulation called String Thing that let students explore the way different factors affect sounds produced by a string under tension. These factors included string length and the amount of tension on the string, something they had seen when building their sound transmission devices with paper cups and string.

After exploring sound, we moved into exploring light. One fun activity involved converting light energy into electrical energy, using solar panels. Students used LEGO solar panels and motors to try this out, as shown below:

A student tests his solar-powered machine
A student tests his solar-powered machine

Finally, we wrapped up with another interactive simulation that showed how light works. The Engineeringinteract.org site has a great activity that gets students to read about and explore how light works.


Engineering Interact screenshot - light activity
Engineering Interact screenshot – light activity

4/5 Technology

This month, students have been engaged in an inquiry-based activity. The hypothetical situation for this activity is that they need to buy 30 light bulbs for a house they’ve inherited. They must choose from among 3 types of bulbs: incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and LED. Each type of bulb uses different technologies to produce light, along with having different impacts on the environment, energy use, and light output.

A student measure the light output of one of the 3 types of bulbs.
A student measure the light output of one of the 3 types of bulbs.

Student used high-tech tools to measure the light output, heat produced, and energy used by the 3 different types of bulbs. They are now working on analyzing their data and writing up their final conclusion as to which bulb they’d choose, supported by the data they have gathered.

Calculations from the inquiry activity
Calculations from the inquiry activity

Middle School Technology

The middle school students are continuing to work on their Solar Vehicles project. Many students have finished building and testing their vehicles, and are now working on writing their final report to complete the portfolio of work for the project.

A student's solar vehicle in process.
A student’s solar vehicle in process.

During Maturation week, the middle school students all participated in a Digital Citizenship discussion. This covered topics such as online privacy and safety, usage of social networks, and cyberbullying. This was a great discussion with each of the 3 grade levels.

Middle School Technology Elective

The Assistive Technology elective class continues to work on their various projects. During the month of May, students finished their One-Button games and the accessible switches they built. They also investigated assistive technology apps on the iPads, and some students have begun to work on a final project of their choosing.

One special item of note: this week, the class was able to do a live video hangout with Andrew VandenHeuvel. Andrew is a Google Glass Explorer, which means he’s one of the first people in the world with Google Glass, the new wearable computing device. Our class participated in a STEMbite science activity, and then spent some time talking with Andrew about Google Glass.

You can see a video overview of this exciting activity here:


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