Our Spring 2015 After-School Programs started with a BANG – that is, with chemical reactions explosions and some superhero creativity! Our “Superheroes of Spring” program kicked off at both Great Falls Elementary School and Forestville Elementary School with creativity and science. There are just a few spaces left in each course, as well as a new drop-in offering.
Students were super-psyched about the Superhero theme and relished the opportunity to work on their own superhero characters. This element of the program is designed to be a long-term project, and students will work on their characters a little bit each time. To start off, they examined their own strengths and drew superheroes and robots with their “ideal” strength. One of the students drew himself as “Candyman!” Another started thinking about ways to use recycling to make a cape. This illustrates several aspects of our approach – creativity, personalization based on individual identities, science, and fun all thrown together.
At Great Falls Elementary School we explored chemistry. Students modeled water molecules with their bodies (and got more and more active as the molecules heated up!) and watched how food coloring spread differently in warm versus cold water. They got messy making acid-base explosions and took home a bouncy polymer ball they made by mixing glue with borax. These activities got students very excited… so we also discussed ways to relax and practiced deep breathing to help calm down. It demonstrated our signature mix of STEM, Art, and Emotional Intelligence.
At Forestville Elementary School we got started right away making prototypes of our superheroes, turning them into real, vibrating robots!
As part of an iterative process, students first drew their robot superhero, then constructed it out of craft materials and then attached a small motor and battery to bring the creature to life. Along the way students learned about electricity and the full circuit needed to make it work. Most students made their robots too big and heavy to move, so next week we’ll continue our learning process and improve our designs.
We also started off with our signature “Creative Introductions,” which is part of our Social and Emotional Life Skills curriculum. In addition, to encourage reflection, students had to fill out an exit ticket to get out! They answered the following questions: “I liked…”, “I learned…”, and “Today’s science can save the world by…”