Monday, July 21, 2014

College for Kids 2014 Recap

Another College for Kids class at Winona State University is now behind me and I feel some relief yet somewhat sad as well. Teaching this class gives me the greatest opportunity to observe the projects on my http://www. website being built by students grades 5 - 8 . For the next year I try to make the building experience go even better by fixing problem areas.  I can see that students like some challenge but if there is too much they give up.  I usually try a new project each year and drop a past project. This year after trying the difficult tumblewing the first day I brought in a very lightweight foam walkalong glider the second day and let students try this, they had better luck with this.

Foam Glider Surfing a Wave of Air 

On the second day the students built the rubber powered airplanes with a balsa stick fuselage. I spoke more about the design this year but still many of the planes did not fly that well. The kids really enjoyed the activity and it was their best opportunity to be creative. All of the other projects are kits that I make up, which is a huge job because there are only limited tools available that I supply. This means all of the sawing and drilling must be done beforehand. On the last day I had asked the students if they had ever done anything like this in school, none of them had.  That is completely understandable to me as to do this for several large classes would be darn near impossible in my opinion. In our small city there are not the science camps that are available in larger cities to build projects all year long which is part of why I see College for Kids vital to the community.

Ready to Launch Rubber Powered Planes

Plane in Flight

This year I tried to lecture a little more in depth before starting an activity. Maybe the students got something out of my short lecture but they are always so anxious to start working on their projects. I was impressed by the last day I saw no kids looking at cellphones or video games.  Some students took their projects home in the evening to work on them further.  Students and parents really were appreciative this year or at least they told me so, which is nice because it inspires me to try harder for the next year.

Gluing the Parts

Mousetrap Car Construction

From the pictures you might notice the lack of girls in the class. Not sure why that was as there have been girls in the past. Enrollment in the class was also down from several years ago when there were parents begging to have their child put on a waiting list in case there was a cancellation.  I see the needed for this type class increasingly important. It was great to see that a class in model solar cars was offered this year an activity that I have included in past years. With all the emphasis on STEM, I still think it is wonderful that Winona State University offers a program with more variety.

Syringe Hydraulic Arms Construction

Happy Students

Bill Kuhl

Be sure to check out Winona State College for Kids on Facebook

Pictures in this blog post are from that source.

Build Articles for Projects in Class Engineering Through Models:

Syringe Hydraulic Arm Article

Rubber Powered Foam Airplanes

Mousetrap Car Construction Article

In the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota Project Building Goes on All Year Long Through:

Bakken Museum
Leonardso's Basement
The Works

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