This week of program was far one the best weeks so far! It was not only fun but the students learned so much and many experienced activities they had not done before. The students drove the RC cars more and I did notice an enormous difference in their driving. The RC cars are not the easiest to control but they are all getting a hang of it and driving them like pros. Another great thing I noticed was when something started acting up within the car, the students would not come to me right away. First, they would try to fix the problem themselves and then come to me once they couldn’t figure it out.
One of my favorite days so far was when Marcus Woods, a Structural Engineer came down to Casa Hidalgo and gave an amazing lesson for the students but also had great activities. For one activity, the students were able to build a tower out of index cards and tape and the team with the tallest tower that could support an iPhone would win. For the second activity students were able to create another tower but this time out of marshmallows and toothpicks. The team with the tallest standalone tower would win. Not only did I see all their creativity blossom but I saw so much of what they have learned in previous lessons and activities put into place like figuring out a problem, brainstorming how to solve that problem, and creating a plan to solve the problem. One of my favorite quotes from one of the students during the activities with Marcus was “ I don’t even know what I am doing, but I am having fun”. In my opinion, that’s what learning is about. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re doing but that fun you’re having sparks the curiosity to learn and absorb the knowledge. We also did the egg drop challenge after learning a little bit about aerodynamics. I personally had never done the activity myself so even I was excited to see the outcome. I let the students decide some of the materials they could use, but also gave them limitations: one small roll of tape for each group only, two square feet of bubble wrap, 20 popsicle sticks, etc. Most of the students said the amount of materials would not be enough to create a great capsule, but they made it work. Sometimes you don’t have all the necessary resources, and you have to work with that you have, trying to be successful even with the limitations of the project. Which is exactly what they did. Every team’s capsule survived a 12-foot drop and even a 25 foot fall, and two of the three teams survived a 35 foot fall. However, only the “Phoenix Wheels” team’s capsule survived the 40 foot fall. After some reflection and ideas for future activities one student said, “I can’t believe that schools don’t make kids do this project, it was so hard but fun.” I completely agree. I am happy that the students are having fun, but I am happier that they are learning and applying skills while having fun.
Written By: Uzziel Fernandez