Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) tweeted a link to the Rubber Band Contest the other day, and I just now got around to checking it out. (Someday I will describe my convoluted methods for archiving resources that I don’t have time to explore right away!) The contest is sponsored by The Akron Global Polymer Academy at The University of Akron, and is for students in 5th-8th grades. Entries are due on March 16, 2015 – but you can see all of the relevant dates here. The challenge is to make an invention that uses at least one rubber band. Here is the link to the official rules. Even if you don’t qualify or don’t want to participate officially, you might want to check out the resources and inspire your students with some of the pictures of past winning inventions. One of my favorites is a runner-up from 2014, the Oreo Creme Splitter!
Last week, I posted about this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest with the theme, “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place.” I mentioned that one thing that I am particularly excited about is the page of Classroom Activities that complement the contest this year. Included in this are three live events where students can “Meet the Doodler” online. Fortunately, my 4th graders got the chance to view the first event yesterday, and it was a great experience. If you were unable to participate, you can see the archive here.
Two elementary schools were able to join the Doodler in the Google Hangout. You can apply to be included as one of the video guests by signing up here for the two remaining events (2/19/14 and 2/26/14 at 1 PM EST). Or, you can just do what our class did, and watch the video while posting some questions in the chat window.
Yesterday’s video (less than 40 minutes) featured Sophie Diao, one of the ten Google “Doodlers” that create the fabulous specialized logos we see periodically. She explained the process for creating a Google Doodle, how long it generally takes, and what she does when she can’t think of any ideas. A neat part of the presentation included an assignment for everyone watching to try to design their own Valentine doodles. I’ve included some of the ones my students did during the short presentation, and you should watch the video for some outstanding ideas from the 2 elementary schools that participated. If you are looking for a fun, last-minute Valentine activity, throw this challenge at your students! (For more Valentine ideas, check out this post.)
I have a Fun Friday video for you of a young man named Audri and his very complex Rube Goldberg contraption. Audri was 7 when he made this video, and aspires to one day study robotics at MIT. I have no doubt that he will achieve all of his dreams! If you feel like playing a virtual Rube Goldberg game, you can head on over to Goldburger to Go at PBS Kids.
I have posted about the Mensa for Kids website before, but did not emphasize the fact that there is a section of the site that provides lesson plans for gifted children. The Lesson Plans section offers at least one enrichment lesson for each grade level from Kindergarten to 10th grade. It also has a unit on “The Power of Invention” that could be adapted to several different levels. Including such topics as Fibonacci, Hurricanes, and using Music Lyrics to teach, this is a great resource for teachers who are looking for ways to extend learning for gifted kids.