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You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. - Steve Jobs

Let the 1st Annual KGA 5th Grade Engineering Games Begin! 
 
 
This year has been a collection of very important dots. From blasting off to the moon and Rod Puppets, to Cardboard Challenge and our trip back from the moon, to Science Fair and constructing Golf Courses, to our Maker Faire the KGA 5th graders have been making grand Connections and honing their Craft as Cogitators, Collaborators, Constructors, Communicators, Calculators. 
 
The Engineering Games involves teams of three using everything they have learned as scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians to compete in four engineering challenges. As they compete, teams will accrue points for their command of the language of the discipline/engineering design process, precision of blueprints and plans, use of a process log to document and communicate, innovative use of materials within the given parameters, and teamwork.
 
 
 
The first challenge: Bridgeroni. Using a variety of pasta noodles, design and construct a bridge that spans a 20" gap, is no wider than 4", no taller than 12", weighs between 6 and 11 ounces, and can support at least 16 ounces of weight for longer than 20 seconds. May the design process be ever in your favor! 
 
 
The second challenge: Core Values. Using a variety of materials common to our classroom, design and construct a coring apparatus that can extract a sample greater than 0.25 inches in length from a craterloupe. The device must span a base 6"-9" in diameter, must be more than 6" tall but less than 18", and weigh less than 10 ounces.
 
 
 
The third challenge: Trebuchet - It's French for Awesome! Using the same set of materials, teams must design and construct a trebuchet. Using principles of physics, simple machines, ratios and proportions, their trebuchets must far for distance and accuracy. 
 
 
 
Maker Faire and CATalyst for Change
Thanks to all the families and community members who made it to the 2nd Annual Maker Faire. The young makers and tinkerers and designers had a great time showcasing their projects and interacting with other students and parents.
 
 
Another big thanks to all the families, students, and community members who were at the 9th Annual CATalyst for Change Conference at Basha High School. Special thanks to all of those people who supported our six presenters.
 
 
Maker Faire Expenditure
It's not all fun and games in 5th grade. It's hard work. It's real work. It's connected. Students are learning how to calculate taxes, tips, discounts, and percents as they work on their Maker Faire projects. Each day, teams receive a per dime based on a set of criteria. Throughout the day, teams must subtract from that per diem if they require labor help from teachers, mediation by teachers, advice from teachers, or tool rental. These items are taxed and may require a gratuity of 10%, 15%, or 20%. Below are conversations with three KGA 5th graders as they complete a formative assessment based on these math principles.
 
 
The 2015 Flame Challenge - What is Sleep?
In 2012 Alan Alda (yes, that Alan Alda) challenged scientists around the world to explain to 5th graders what a flame is. The competition he started with Stony Brook University and the Center for Communicating Sciences began with a question Alda had as a young student. He asked his science teacher "What is a flame?" and was given an unsatisfactory answer. So to encourage scientific communication, The Flame Challenge was born. In 2013 our 5th graders participated in the Worldwide Assembly. Ten schools from around the world got a chance to evaluate the finalists and share their thoughts with Mr. Alda. Who knows if we'll get the same chance this year, but we plan on learning more about sleep and scientific writing. Ask your children about this process and stay tuned for more details about the winning entries.
 

flickr photo shared by buistbunch under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license
 
 
Maker Faire Update
So that students can perfect their craft, write about the process, and calculate the amount of their per diem they've spent on materials, labor, advice, and mediation, we've changed the date of the 2nd Annual KGA 5th Grade Maker Faire to Thursday, April 30. In the meantime, here are some pictures and video of the students' progress.
 
 
 
5th Graders Design and Print Puzzles
Jonah and Donnie love puzzles. They also love challenges. So when Jonah built a prototype of a puzzle built with wooden cubes glued together, the two of them decided to recreate their design on a much smaller scale, but one that could be more easily be reproduced. They are still working on the final two pieces of the puzzle ,but when it's done, we'll be sure to update this page with more videos and pictures. 
 
 
Fore!
Combining Geometry and Algebra (Geogebra), the KGA 5th graders are designing and building 21-hole miniature golf course. Students, working in teams of three of four, are using the engineering design process to brainstorm ideas base on our Pearls of Wisdom, build a golf hole that is no more than 150 cm by 75 cm out of a variety of materials, test the designs with their peers and redesign if necessary, and share their creations to the community at the Science and Engineering Night on February 19 from 5:30-8:00 PM. 
 
 
 
SallySkyRider
In 2013 several Chandler Unified teachers had an idea. Could they build, launch, and recover a high altitude balloon. The answer? Yes. An while it took nine days to recover SallySkyRider, the data she brought back from 90,000 feet above the Earth's surface sparked a movement in 5th grade. After the recovery, the students analyzed the data and video footage, determining that SallySkyRider experienced temperatures as low as -66 degrees Fahrenheit. The following year the 5th graders continued on this journey, programming Arduino computers, experimenting with GPS devices and GoPro cameras, building a payload for Sally's precious cargo, and learning about latitude and longitude and the properties of helium and hydrogen. This year's legendary 5th graders will carry her torch as they design questions and payloads and program Arduino to research the Earth's first two atmospheric layers. Stay tuned to SallySkyRider on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr. You can also watch her 2013 and 2014 launches on YouTube. The proposed launch date has been moved from late February to mid- to late-March.
 

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by sallyskyrider
 

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by sallyskyrider
 
 
Thanks to the Chandler Education Foundation
With support from the Chandler community and the CEF's 100% Awareness Campaign, teachers in CUSD are able to apply for grants to help fund projects in the classroom. This year we wrote a grant for a GoPro Hero4 Silver and tons of accessories to be used on a variety of projects, including a high altitude balloon launch in the spring. Here is the first video of students using the camera, including a helmet mount and chest mount.
 
 
Chandler Education Foundation Prize Patrol Visits 5th Grade
Several weeks ago the 5th grade teachers wrote a grant for a second GoPro camera and various accessories to use for an upcoming high altitude balloon launch. Friday morning the Chandler Education Foundation Prize Patrol surprised the teachers and awarded them $720 to purchase these materials. This grant and others that were awarded around the district would not have been possible without your generous donations during CEF's 100% Awareness Campaign.
 
Cardboard Challenge 2014
Thank you for supporting the 2014 Knox Gifted Academy Cardboard Challenge. We appreciate all the supplies and time you spent in our class helping students design and build amazing works of engineering and art. We hope you noticed the time and effort that went into each project, the mathematics behind the scaling, and the engineering design process each team or individual employed to make an amazing product.
 
 
 
International Dot Day
We hope the 5th graders had a wonderful day of creativity and courage. Thanks to all the families who were able to donate items or donate time (or both).
 
 
Forest of Dots  
 
Communicating Science To A Real Audience
Several teachers from Yuma stopped by the 5th grade classrooms last week interested in how we do things at KGA. Turns out a team of scientists/engineers/researchers were conducting their last water bottle rocket trials. This KGA 5th grader explains to teachers the science and design behind her team's experiment.
 
 
Welcome, 2014-2015 KGA Team 5th Grade!
The KGA Team 5th Grade is looking forward to filling this virtual space with images, video, reflections, celebrations, and information with you this school year. One way to stay in touch with what is going on in rooms B1, B2, and B3 is to check the announcements scroll, the Homework/Other Assignments page and the Daily Reflection page regularly. For a glimpse of, "A Day in the Life" as a KGA 5th grade student and parent, enjoy this video!