Tag Archives: InnovationQ3

Science Olympiad – March 25, 2014

What an amazing day!  Ninety-eight 4th-6th grade students from all ten elementary schools participated in the 1st Annual Westside Community Schools Science Olympiad.  Students had a fun-filled day exploring science concepts like density, simple machines, and measurement.  In teams of two, students used their observation and estimating skills to complete four activities.  Here are a few picture and video highlights from the day.

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Sink Or Float


Write-It Do-It

Pasta Bridge

Mystery Boxes

Young Scientist Challenge

Life is full of opportunities to seek out innovative solutions to everyday issues.  The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge celebrates students in grades 5-8 who find innovative solutions for these issues.

For this week’s learning opportunity, check out the Contest Archives and see what students have done in the past.  When you click on the link, the Contest Archives are on the right (from 2013 to 2008).  Click on a year and then scroll down on the page to find links to 10 finalists.  When you’re finished, go to the form and fill out the required information.

One last thing…the 2014 Challenge is open until April 22.  You still have time to create a 1-2 minute video and  submit it!  There are some amazing prizes and opportunities so check it out!

Contest Archives Link:  http://www.youngscientistchallenge.com/contest-archives

Link to Form:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uUeC4dIN_JraT3Gu5Uk3qlwWFE-4wpR1W2jFiZ5JH94/viewform


PhET is a site filled with free online physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and math simulations.  Find a simulation or two or three or four by clicking on the link below.  When you leave a comment, list the name of the simulation(s) you explored and then share something new you learned.  Playing the simulation might also prompt you to do a little more research on the topic.  List that information as well!

NOTE:  When leaving comments, only put your first name and do not leave your email. 


Click on a simulation and then click Run Now!  Have fun exploring!

SNOW DAY Bonus Learning Opportunity

Rube Goldberg adjective: doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary

Have you ever heard of Rube Goldberg?  This video will give you some basics and will also provide you with some examples.  http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/rube-goldberg-the-father-of-inventions/

This Sesame Street video shows a Rube Goldberg machine shooting a basketball.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mTjSYzK01c

Here’s a very elaborate Rube Goldberg machine: http://www.wimp.com/gomachine/

What information can you find out about Rube Goldberg?  Learn something new, share your ideas, and don’t forget to cite your sources!

Innovative Thinking and Inventions

How old do you think you need to be in order to become a CEO?  What about a writer or illustrator?  How much schooling do you need to be a fashion designer?  What about an entrepreneur?  One might think it would take 2-4 years of college and several years of experience, but at the ripe old age of 8, Maya Penn started doing all of these things!

In her TED Talk, Maya talks about her passions and interests and why she does what she does.  Check out her website (which she coded herself in html) Maya’s Ideas  and watch her TED Talk here:  http://www.ted.com/talks/maya_penn_meet_a_young_entrepreneur_cartoonist_designer_activist.html

I watched a webinar today and learned the meaning of “flow”.  Psychology professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term and simply put, flow is a feeling of complete engagement in a creative or playful activity.  You could say Maya Penn experiences ‘flow’ as she designs clothes and creates animations.

What about you?  What do you like to do that creates ‘flow’ in your life? What are your passions and interests?  Are you working on an invention or new idea?  Do you like to write?  Are you composing your own music?

Young people are capable of doing amazing things!  Leave a comment and answer one or more of the above bolded questions.  You can also research a young inventor by using one of the links below.  Feel free to research other inventors and use other sources-just make sure to cite your source!  As an added bonus, I stumbled upon a rubber band contest.  Check it out and start inventing!

iKids: http://www.inventivekids.com/category/young-inventors-2/

Children of Invention: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0768091.html

Rubber Band Contest: http://rubberbandcontest.org/



Snowflake Safari

Although we haven’t seen too many snowflakes this winter, I think you’ll find this week’s learning opportunity fascinating!

snowflake_snowflake_smimage from pdclipart.org

Science Friday (www.sciencefriday.com) is a great resource to bookmark and check out on a regular basis!   You’ll find articles, videos, audio files and more related to anything and everything science!

For this week’s learning opportunity, watch Snowflake Safari on the Science Friday website.  When you’re finished, post a comment about something new you learned.  Extend your learning by doing a little more research on that topic.

Snowflake Safari Link: http://sciencefriday.com/video/12/31/2009/snowflake-safari.html

Wall-Scaling Gecko Robot

What has 6 legs, can scale walls and withstand space temperatures and vacuum conditions?  Abigaille, the wall-scaling gecko robot that’s who!

Agile_climberFor this week’s learning opportunity, check out the Wired article about Abigaille and then answer a few questions.

Link to Article:  http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/06/gecko-robots-sticky

Link to Questions: https://docs.google.com/a/westside66.net/forms/d/1OrDGwe62JHfBVtrJnec4O7RwyOn97tnjZQRL7Q7EnZ0/viewform