The Daring Dinoman

Is that Dinosaur poop? It sure is. That was only one of the many dinosaur fossils that the Dinoman showed the Chickering second graders this year. His purpose for coming was to encourage children who don’t like science to enjoy it. A flashback on the past was a great experience for us fifth graders so we hope you enjoy our feedback from this very entertaining presentation.

Going back to this dinosaur presentation all the way back to 2nd grade created some memories for us. The Dinoman brought four enormous, detailed blowup dinosaurs. Each dinosaur was different in its own special way. One of the dinosaurs allowed you to go inside of it. Inside the dinosaur the Dinoman showed us many fossils. Including a bug stuck in amber, dinosaur horn, and of course the fan favorite the dinosaur poop!Picture of Bob the Dinoman talking with grade two children.

We interviewed the Dinoman after his last presentation. The first question that we addressed to him was how long have you been doing this dinosaur presentation in Chickering? He responded saying he has been doing it for 11 years in row! The next question we asked the Dinoman was how long have been interested in dinosaurs and teaching kids about them? He answered with the response that he had found a dinosaur fossil at the age of 11! He has been interested ever since. Then we asked him what is your favorite part of the presentation? He replied telling us that he enjoys teaching kids who don’t like science to enjoy it. Another question that we asked was do you only teach second grade or do you teach other grades? He said that he teaches mostly second grade and that they are very focused on dinosaurs. Our last question that we asked him was what is your favorite dinosaur and why? He answered saying that his favorite dinosaur was the triceratops because  it is so easy to dig up. Also because it weighs a lot but its bones are super tough. That is what happened during our interview with the Dinoman.

The presentation of the Dinoman was interesting and entertaining. We had a lot of fun seeing this presentation again. It is a great experience to see what the Dinoman has to say and share so we hope you enjoyed our information about such a wonderful presentation.

Reported by:  Diana, Julia, Caroline, and Emily

Elementary Engineers

Simple Machines! Technology! Structures! What do all these words have in common? They’re all types of innovations, which use engineering. defines engineering as “the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.”

Engineering is one of the fourth grade science units. We began this unit with a mystery. Groups of students were given bags with different items inside. Each bag had several different items. Students were asked to reach in and identify an object inside the bag, without looking at it. Once the object was identified, the item was removed from the bag and the group determined the technology and the problem it solved. For example; an item might be a small plastic pencil sharpener. The technology is a wedge and a screw; the problem it solves is to sharpen the lead of a pencil.

There are many different kinds of bridges in the world. We learned about some types such as, suspension, beam, deep beam, and arch bridges. In groups of 3-4 students, we worked on building one of these forms of bridges or combinations of bridges. Each group had the following materials: popsicle sticks, straws, string, paper, masking tape, and 6 large books. After the bridge was built, we had to Testing the Arch Bridge for strength.test the bridge for strength, weight and weather. To test for strength, we tried to drive a toy car back and forth across the bridge three times. Washers and bolts were used to test the weight the bridge would hold; the expectation was that the bridge should hold 24 washers and 8 bolts. The final test given to each bridge was a simulation of an earthquake by shaking the bridge. 5 of the 6 groups were successful with their bridge construction.

We finished the unit by experimenting with simple machines, such as hammers, drills, screws, and screwdrivers. Following this we had to take a written exam.

Mrs. Wasik returned to Chickering School this year from a leave of absence. Prior to her leave she taught the Oceanography Science Unit in fourth grade. This year she is teaching the Engineering Science Unit. We were curious as to which unit she liked better. In Oceanography, she loved learning about the adaptations of different sea creatures. She discovered that technology is not just computers but “could be anything that solves a problem, such as a chair”. After she taught the Engineering Unit for the first time, she has decided she likes both equally.

We asked her what she wanted the students to learn about engineering. She wants everybody to know that technology is anything that solves a problem and that engineers both design and improve technology. Another question was what are all the fourth grade science units. The science units are: Plants, Sound and Light, Oceanography, Rocks and Minerals, and Engineering as determined by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

We wondered how she thought the students did collaborating together building their bridges. She said the students learned to listen to each other, to share ideas, and to encourage everyone to participate in the group. As the unit continued, Mrs. Wasik felt that the students improved more and more as they learned to work together.

If you like working in groups and using your hands to build things then this 4th grade science unit is for you!

Reported by: George, Marley, and Sophie