Tippecanoe School Corporation
SLEDding in 4th Grade
Taylor Butcher

Reviewing for the ILEARN Science test with a different perspective was a blast this year. Each class rotated between the 4th grade teachers to review Science standards by studying Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED). 

For science in Miss Fay’s class, we talked about energy, focusing specifically on thermal energy. We also discussed global warming and how it can have a considerable impact on the environment. We talked about how too much thermal energy is bad for certain environments like the arctic, as well as the negative impacts it can have on the animals that live there. For our SLED project, we worked on building shelters for our penguins using foil paper, poster tack, and pipe cleaners. 

A shelter is made of pipe cleaners and foil.

When students finished building their shelters, they placed it under the “sun” (a heat lamp) and let it sit there for a while. Their goal was to make the inside cooler than the outside. They were very successful! On our final day, we talked about things that have a lack of thermal energy and made ice cream! Who knew science could be so delicious?!

In Mrs. Royer's electricity classroom, students worked to think like engineers.  We learned about the engineer design process and worked to solve a problem.  After students spent time learning about electricity and reviewing electricity concepts, they were given a scenario of a 4th grade student that kept forgetting to feed her sheep.  She wanted to create a reminder that would help her remember to feed them when the trough was empty.  She wanted to design a circuit that would light a bulb ONLY when the food trough was empty.  The light bulb needed to turn off when the trough was filled with food.  Students were given a box of materials, and they worked in groups to plan a design that would successfully complete the task.  After each group had a plan, they worked together to build their design.  Some groups had to make improvements, but at the end of the class, all groups were successful. 

During Ms. Miller's SLED rotation students learned about weathering, erosion and deposition. This concept involves students understanding how each process is different. Students went outside for an erosion and deposition scavenger hunt and were surprised to find so many examples of erosion and deposition. Students also used a sugar cube to demonstrate weathering of a rock. The unit ended with students creating a mini stream to model and view the entire process in a short span of time. 

Mrs. Butcher focused on forces. On the first day, we talked about the 4 forces that impact an airplane. Then kids learned about Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa Experiment. We explored how drag, gravity, and air resistance impact the acceleration of dropping objects. We then predicted how forces would be impacted in water versus air. The next day, we manipulated various materials in water and discussed shapes that created more and less drag. Our SLED project was based on the problem that while fishing, a boat of fourth graders were being pulled around by a large fish. The kids acted as engineers by adding materials to their boats above and below water in order to slow them down and therefore increase drag. Every group was able to slow their boat and slow it even more on a second trial. The most successful group slowed their boat from 1.5 seconds to 16 seconds! 

These hands-on experiments helped students apply the engineering standards to solve problems based on the rest of the standards. It was great to see all the kids interacting with different teachers and review topics from a new perspective.