Saturday, March 6, 2010

Learning with my students: Grade 7 MYP Technology (part 2)

The kite making saga continues with our Grade 7s. Last week the students were investigating different kite shapes and kite designs, this week they started to look at the materials they might like to use to build their kites. We collected together lots of different materials that they could test for the frame, the sail and the line. Students heard from one of the science teachers about aerodynamics and the balance between surface area, weight and strength. The heaviest of the materials for the frame is bamboo - we have 2 types of bamboo and the thick sticks are obviously much stronger than the thin ones - but are they going to be too heavy for the kites to be able to lift? We have balsa wood too - also different thicknesses and weights - but we tried some of them out and they break very easily. They are light and easy to lift, but how will these stand up to the wind if it is strong? We also have wire which some students are going to use to make the frames.

We've been looking at different types of materials for the sail - waxed paper, different types and thickness of plastics including cling-film, and fabrics. We're wondering about the best ways of attaching these onto the frame. Finally we are looking at the lines we can attach to the kites and let out as the kites (hopefully) rise into the sky.

The students have now finalised their designs and have made a shopping list for me of the materials they need next week to make their kites. I'm really excited to see how they are going to turn out and how the students are going to get on with the actual construction as most of the students have never been given the opportunity to design and make anything before or to handle tools such as saws. For all of us - students and myself too - this is a big leap into the dark.

Photo Credit: Tools of the Trade by Sarah Ross photography

1 comment:

  1. It may be a big leap into the dark but you are learning so much taking the leap! Soon your students will be testing out their kites and making predictions about what will happen and conjecture about what went right or wrong. A leap into the dark is always worth it when learning is involved. We often learn the most there!