A day at the races

Throughout our project on renewable energy we’ve been pretty fortunate with the sun.   Yesterday was no exception as we took advantage of a cloudless day to race our solar cars on the playground.  It was a ton of fun and the students did a great job with it.  You can read some of the their accounts about it here and see an Animoto movie of it below.

One of the best parts about this project has been the opportunity to see some students, who haven’t had as much success in other academic areas, really shine with this activity. Throughout this project, I’ve tried to tailor different labs and investigations to the needs and interests of different students in my class. In many respects, I sort of felt like I was running my classroom more like a business than a regular class. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but it kept students more engaged than almost any project I’ve done this year with them. At times, students missed out on content from one area (solar people didn’t learn as much about wind and vice-versa), but having them stay focused on one area seemed to helped them understand the topic more in depth.

In class this week, I’m trying to tie all the different parts of the project together. Getting back to teacher led lessons has been a bit of a bummer for the students, but I’m using them (and the content they created) to review each topic. We’ll have a final test early next week and I’m eagerly looking forward to the results. It will certainly inform future projects and determine if this formula works, or if I need to change some things. Either way, with the sun shining and the solar cars rolling – it certainly felt like a pretty successful project.


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