I'm very excited about what is coming as we move into fall; my 4th and 5th graders are beginning to experience a new component to my art classes--engineering. We will be using the engineering process to design, build, and improve on a variety of projects that give students a chance to learn about what different kinds of engineers do: mechanical, aeronautical, materials, civil, and more. Fifth grade has already started its first project, looking at the James Webb Space Telescope that will be launched in 2018 to look at galaxies many, many light years away.
The challenge for our 5th graders: to make a model version of the solar canopy that will unfold from the sides of the telescope after it leaves the rocket. Their charge, then is to craft their 12" x 30" canopy from tinfoil in such a way that it can fold and unfold from a "packing crate" without tearing. After studying the JWS Telescope, they have begun developing the canopy that their teams have designed. Once built, they will test, present to the class, and then go back to improve their designs, just like real engineers do when working on a project. Stay tuned--there are plenty of photos coming!