Utilizing a $1,118 EFW grant, Longfellow Middle School science teacher, Michele Schmidt, introduced her students to a creative way to problem-solve. Schmidt's plan was to implement a five week project beginning with learning stations where students would discover and explore ways to explain force and motion concepts. With the use of Simple Machine K'Nex sets, students would plan and construct machines to solve a problem that they created. They would conduct these hands-on activities while discussing and analyzing possible solutions.
The program has been implemented and students are creating and constructing simple and compound machines. Schmidt says the focus is on planning, predicting, inventing, and modifying applications of concepts. Students demonstrate examples, discuss and defend as they compare solutions. They use teamwork and higher level thinking skills as they work together to solve problems. At the conclusion of their investigations, teams will build a Rube Goldberg Machine as a differentiated activity.
It is clear that Schmidt's EFW grant is enriching the learning experience for her students. As one of them stated, "Wow. This is the way to learn science. Learn while you're having fun."