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Heading into the Holidays

Heading into the Holidays
Leslie Maus

After brilliantly presenting to the entire elementary and preschools about force and motion, pairs of students designed and built a tractor to pull behind our Sphero bots. This was an example of trial and error at its finest: why they couldn’t “attach” the tractor to the bot using tape or rubber bands or anything else; the idea of a yoke or a constraint which would allow the bot to roll unimpeded; how to use triple beams to weigh the tractors, and finally, whether or not their initial plans even worked. It was a toss-up! Everyone agreed that the shape and weight of the cups allowed the bot to roll smoothly without any drag. Once we had weighed our tractors, we discovered the difference between success and failure. The lightest tractor weighed in at a slim 28.3 grams, while the largest weighed in at 84.1 grams! We also discovered that the bots themselves weighed 193 grams. Next up, redesigned tractors, added weights, and Newton scales to measure the needed force to propel the tractors without a bot!!

Sean and Zach test their tractor above. Below, Mia, Eli, Olivia, and Farryn test their tractors.

Clay and Luka

Left: Chloe and Luna weigh their tractor; Right: Uriah and Vanli do the same.

In other inquiry ventures, kapa cloth making began. First, we made a rice-water mixture and allowed the separation of the layers of sediment in it. Then, we extracted the lacto-bacillus from the middle section of milky white water. Next, we looked at the lacto-bacillus through the compound microscope and drew what we saw. Then, we added 2% milk to the lacto-bacillus using a syringe. The planting of the Wauke trees commences soon with the creation of new planter boxes.

Our exploration into making Bokashi also went well. Bokashi is a natural fertilizer that we plan to plant in with the Wauke trees to help them grow into the foreseeable future! It consists of wheat bran, the bacteria lacto-bacillus from our rice-water experiment, water, and molasses. Students mixed small amounts of liquid with the wheat bran and allowed it to slowly absorb. The lacto-bacillus digest the sugars and provide nutrition for the plants.

Top left: Christopher, Mia, and Curran; top right: Finn and Caroline;

Bottom left: Eli, Canli and Zoe; Bottom right: the recipe for Bokashi


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