Usually, “soaking up the sun” means either basking leisurely on a beach somewhere or enjoying any number of outdoor summer activities. But as Pitsco’s November Teacher of the Month, Joni Hood, knows, there are other ways to utilize those rays.
More specifically, one can effectively capture the Sun’s energy and learn a multitude of science and math concepts with Pitsco’s Ray Catcher Sprint solar vehicle – an integral part of Hood’s seventh-grade Solar Energy Unit at Fort Wingate Elementary and Middle School in Fort Wingate, New Mexico.
When she was suddenly reassigned to teach seventh grade after teaching third grade for five years, Hood discovered that the solar car activities still fit nicely into her curriculum.
And that’s a good thing, considering the amount of sun New Mexico sees. As Hood’s colleague Stefi Weisburd explains, “Ray Catchers enable Joni to use the abundant sun of New Mexico to engage them in STEM ideas and activities and provide her students with an example of how science and technology can benefit [their] community.”
Hood prefers hands-on activities such as the Ray Catcher kits because they enable her students to connect concepts and theories to concrete examples. “My students learn more when they are able to use their visual and hands-on skills,” she says. “[Students] are more engaged in their learning when they are making and putting things together.”
Ms. Hood, we appreciate all you do to bring STEM to your Fort Wingate students. Keep soaking up those rays!
Learn more about Joni Hood here. Read about our other Teacher of the Month recipients at www.pitsco.com/TeacheroftheMonth.
Related link:Sustainable Energy
By Trudi Lawless, TAG member, Lakeside Junior High School, Orange Park, FL
So Pitsco has come out with another robotics system. What’s the big deal? Why should I, as a teacher, expend more money to jump to another robotics system? Actually, there are several good reasons to do just that.
Pitsco’s new TETRIX® Building Systems, which include the entry-level TETRIX PRIME and the more advanced TETRIX MAX, have some interesting advantages. The first and foremost for me is that these two systems are compatible. I can use TETRIX PRIME to get my less advanced students interested in robotics and then use TETRIX MAX to build on and expand that knowledge.
The TETRIX systems are also durable, with sturdy metal parts that will withstand years of use by students. This alone makes the expenditure worthwhile.
Last but not least, TETRIX comes with curriculum that allows you to easily integrate robotics into a technology classroom. There is a video and plenty of activities available online to help you get the students started. There’s even an opportunity for students to add their original ideas to the website. I have my preorder in for the new system, and my students can’t wait to test it for me!
Visit www.TETRIXrobotics.com to browse all the available online resources.
Now that fall and the traditional start of school have arrived, many of us start seeing more and more apples. While many think of the apple harvest or the classic apple for teacher, we can get the drop on physics by thinking of Newton’s apple instead.
To help young learners grasp the gravitational pull that reportedly helped conk Newton on the head and that keeps us grounded, Pitsco Education created the Gravity Guru. Designed to show that any object’s acceleration – whether that of a feather or bowling ball – due to gravity is identical, the Guru has a photogate that records the data for two picket fence pieces. One piece weighs twice as much as the other, and they both have alternating black and clear stripes that are recorded as they pass by the laser beam when dropped through the gate.
Then, the data is displayed in graphs for quantitative analysis. The included software displays the data on-screen so children can see the velocity, time, and acceleration results of each picket fence for themselves. This quantitative information will clear up any gravitational confusion with ease.
At $165, this is a great homeschool co-op project, and it only requires access to an electrical outlet and a PC with one available USB port. The setup is simple too, so parents can get to the activity quickly. The picket fence pieces are made of polycarbonate, so they can endure drop after drop.
To learn more, check out the Gravity Guru here.
Elements of Physics - Motion, Forces, and Gravity Video