Teachable moments & the concept of balance • The Kent Gardens Think Tank is a hands- on learning center for grades one through six. Students gravitate to centers & activities of interest and are allowed time to flow and meet challenges. Through inquiry, students are able to problem solve and reflect. There are many teachable moments to help students identify concepts such as “balance.” A few follow. Balance in Art: Symmetry Creation with magnetic tangrams. Structural engineering & building Branch blocks (left) are uneven, providing greater challenge and increased need for balance. Strawberry baskets balance on top of others to form a more fragile structure. Kapla blocks are evenly sized and shaped planks that here are used for a spiral. The Roman Arch is a challenge to create based on a map; all blocks are of similar design and balance is required due to lack of support. Nail Challenges Two students worked together to meet the challenge of designing a structure where 6 nails balance on the head of one and no nails touch the base. The second nail challenge involves balancing twelve nails on the head of one where all nails must touch the base. Equilibrium Mobile This project consists of lightweight metal structures that balance on top of others. Balance is tested when marbles are added. Teambuilding Activities Flag House is an activity where six students hold short poles to support [balance] a long pole with a moveable weight inside of it and carry it from point to point. In the second photo, students are lowering a “Helium Stick” to the floor as a group without force by balancing it on fingertips. If any fingers disconnect from the stick, the team must start again from a standing position.
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