It was another fun week in and around the middle school cabin. The weather took a turn toward the delightful just in time for the fall equinox. We had a few cloudy days which made additional testing of our solar oven projects difficult, but every student had adequate opportunity for a successful test and everyone was able to generate significant temperatures.
Over the past week, our focus was divided into several directions. One was finalizing our written solar oven reflections. After each engineering project, students take time to compose a written product which details the intention, planning, building, and testing of the device, as well as potential future applications or adjustments.
We were also busy learning about the 4 Laws of Thermodynamics and experimenting with exothermic and endothermic reactions. Students demonstrated the former using sodium carbonate and water (which releases heat) and the latter with the classic combination of baking soda and vinegar which uses heat in the reaction, making its container cool.
On Friday, the squad had its first official test in science and engineering. We took time to discuss our approach to testing at DGS. Learning is never final, and assessments like this are just meant as demonstrations of what we know about a topic NOW. It's tacitly understood that we're going to continue learning about these topics for years at least. These tests will be returned on Wednesday, and students will have an opportunity to correct them for additional credit if desired.
Incredibly, we have already started brainstorming ideas for this winter's Science Fair project. Feel free to ask your student about their ideas and help them solidify concepts which are both feasible and fun.
Zachary did a great job developing a master class on how to set up a solid woodworking shop in a garage for under $1000. It's always awesome to see how much our students know about the topics they find most interesting.