Friday, December 06, 2013

fourth grade fragments

It’s Friday. So kids open your browsers to the fragmented posts that can be found at Mrs. 4444’s blog.




(Lisleman background info - regular readers probably can skip over) We have two daughters who teach. I’ve mentioned this here and there before. One them teaches at an elementary school. My career was electrical engineering.

Thursday I had a fourth grade experience. Most all my fragments today focus on that.

One of our teaching daughters suggested at least two years ago that she should set me up with the teachers who do a science unit on electricity. I was open to it but her idea seem to always come too late in the school schedule. Not this year. She set me up to present to four fourth grade classes. I was busy Thursday afternoon visiting the four classrooms.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the kids be bored. My daughter suggested powerpoint which I remember giving her help on years ago. I never liked powerpoint that much when I was in the corporate world. Fourth grade kids expect powerpoint slides instead of squeaky chalk? Yes I did know the chalkboards were mostly gone but I thought whiteboards were mostly used. The kids were good. I hoped for questions and they had plenty to ask.

I showed them an electromagnet I made from a coil of wire that I found in an old electric toothbrush our daughter donated to my junk collection. My theme for the presentation was various common things utilizing Faraday’s electromagnetic induction discovery. In addition to the electromagnet coil, I show a speaker and a few motor toys/gadgets. I explained how I learned about electrical transformers before there were toy transformers. (You can see a few of my toy/gadget video clips under the “Playing Around” tab.)

Planning to demo a few different devices saved the afternoon for me. The demo of a speaker playing beats from an old toy failed after the second classroom. A broken wire was to blame.

The technology in the classroom surprised me. I used a document camera projector thing to show the electromagnet picking up a permanent magnetic. Back in the day, the overhead projector was high tech. I can recall cleaning chalk erasers for the teachers at my elementary school.



The status of my electrical/electronic junk collection has now increased a level in usefulness.

Packing up my stuff and setting-up in each classroom would be easier if I had used a rolling cart. Next time I guess.

Experimenting with various electrical/electronic components is more fun as a hobby than as a student or employee. From the time as a student, all the way through as a working engineer, watching something I built or even partially built has been a joy. I was reminded of the good feeling that comes from sharing knowledge.




This past weekend we visited the Christmas lights at the zoo. They put on a spectacle of color and shapes. Hopefully I’ll remember to post a few pics soon.


13 comments:

Traci Shannon said...

Sounds awesome! How lucky were those 4th graders. My son is in fourth grade and I would have loved for him to have been a part of your demonstration.
:-)
Traci

jodaley said...

Sounds terrific! My youngest daughter is a third grade teacher, but they team teach so she does all the reading and social studies for two classes and her co-teacher does all the math and science. It's a nice set up and the kids enjoy switching rooms after lunch. Hands on with science is definitely the way to go. I'm sure the kids enjoyed it!

Dawn Saros-Kirk said...

I'm sure many of the fourth graders loved the presentation. Kids are kind of fascinated with making things work, especially from junk you can find around. I'm sure the change in routine was good but I bet they really did enjoy having you there. Sometimes a change in routine can cause rowdiness but it sounds like they did well! My youngest is in fourth grade too and he would have enjoyed your demonstration. Good for you for doing this for the kids! Maybe you created a spark for some of the kids!

Joanne said...

Planning ahead for next year already. What can you do with a robot or a race car?

lisleman said...

Do you an old robot/race car lying around? The robots are the most interesting (and expensive). All these things have parts inside. Some have more useable parts than others.
thanks

lisleman said...

Yes I hope I did. I had both boys and girls asking questions. They were well behaved. One class started having many conversations going at once but the teacher quickly got them quiet. It is great to see kids fascinated. It's too bad that adults tend to lose that feeling.
thanks

lisleman said...

thanks - yes hands on certainly gets more attention. I remember a favorite physics teacher in high school that used bricks in demonstrations. He would let them fall on the floor with a large boom. You didn't sleep in his class. I know the school in our district used that "pod" team approach.

Laurie Matherne said...

Fourth grade, for most, is a magical time. It's the height of chidhood, before any hints of adolescence nudge children toward cynicsm. I am glad you added to their knowledge. Open minds are a wonderful thing when we can fill them with good things.

lisleman said...

thanks - Open minds are a benefit to the community. More adults should keep their eyes and minds open.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Sounds like a fun class.

lisleman said...

it was fun
thanks

lisleman said...

There were a few interesting questions but nothing too far out there. I was telling them about my engineering career and one boy asked if engineers make lots of money. I told him it depends. Probably not the type of answer he wanted.
thanks

Cheryl P. said...

What a neat experience. It's been so long since I have been in a classroom (other than my grandson's kindergarten class) that I wouldn't recognize how teachers teach any more. I might not be smarter than a 4th grader (or a fifth grader)

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