Monday, April 14, 2014

The Chocolate Factory - Part Six - Chocolate Invetions

Part of the reason I wanted to do this novel study now was that it fit so nicely into my Science plans as well. Don't you just love it when you can take an idea across the curriculum? We are currently working through Forces, Motion, and Simple Machines. A unit that asks students to look closely at the world around them and see how we use simple ideas to make our work easier. I like it because it gets them asking about why things happen. One of my students wanted to know if trees weren't planted in the ground, would they go flying off into space. They have some interesting misconceptions about things I take for granted. Helping them see how it all works is part of what makes my job great.

I worked off the wonderous mind of Mr. Willy Wonka and his fantabulous chocolate factory and asked my students to give it a go. If they could use some simple machines and create a candy invention, what would they make? Now, I had to have some requirements such as limiting the size of their invention to be able to fit on top of their desk and not taller than two feet. They had to identify at least three simple machines and a heat source. I assured them, and their parents, that it didn't actually have to work. The rest was up to them.

The Big Reveal day is always exciting. The kids come in in dribs and drabs with their projects covered up with bags or paper. All the others gather around to ooh and aah and talk about what they see. They are fascinated with the new machine until the next child walks in and begins the process all over again. They can hardly contain themselves to present their ideas to their friends. Good thing we have Science first thing in the morning. This year they really surprised me with some amazing ideas, some that actually worked.

Here's a student who created chocolate crayons that could actually write. Wouldn't you just love that? He provided samples for everyone to try. I know he used a crayon making machine from the story, but I have to admire his creative thought processes. And the Chocoyons weren't half bad.

Also, he created a fun persuasive poster that tied in our unit from writing. 

Another student went totally original and built her's from a game she loved to play. Build a Better Mousetrap used to be one of my favorites as well as a kid. I had no idea they were still around. But she described it to a Tee. You could tell she enjoyed making this through her description of the machine's finer points. I liked that she also added in another simple machine that we discussed briefly but isn't part of our curriculum, per se. The gears work off the same principal as a wheel and axle, but add teeth.

Oh, and this next child got an automatic A+ because she included a little Mr. Fryns in her factory.

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