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Evaluation Notes: 7 April 2005

Prior to session:
As most students have not completed their first balloon car, this week we plan to allow them that opportunity. We would still like them to use SMILE and the handhelds for this design. However, as we would like the students to have the opportunity to build a rubber-band car, this week after the students complete their balloon car we will allow them to build a rubber-band car or to build a better balloon car, at their choosing. Prior to letting them go, however, we plan to have a brief discussion where we tell them what the plan is for week 10.

After session:
Today we had about 10-11 students attend, and although this number was relatively small they made a lot of noise. We forgot to bring styrofoam cups today, so most groups could not work very well on their balloon cars. Because of this and the energy level of the students we decided not to use the laptops nor the handhelds. In retrospect this was a very wise decision. Many groups were able to complete their balloon car design. Four groups proceeded to rubber-band cars. It is my assessment that not many students understand any better how to make a balloon car than they did when they first messed about with them. Primarily construction issues held most cars up: straws were not attached to the cups and flew out without propelling the cars; balloons, when inflated, touched the wheels and locked them up; even some of the base coaster car functionality was lacking as many wheels went untightened and axles unstraigtened. Of the 4 groups that tried rubber-band car 2 of them had working cars and 1 group would have if they had been allowed 10 more minutes. The 2 working cars worked relatively well. One of the groups got hung up on wanting to add more weight in order to add friction. Partly this is my fault because I showed them 2 rubber-band cars, one of which was heavier and ran better. Their primary problem, however, was that the wheels were not tightened properly and slipped. I showed this to one of the team members, but the other team member (the one obsessed with weight) took the car away and added weights to it.

I'm not sure if anyone learned much today, but they seemed to have fun doing it.

Last modified 7 April 2005 at 5:49 pm by Jason Williams