pendulums and bridges

So many good things have been happening at school! This first arc, Rulers, was designed to allow the students to get to know Brightworks and the community, but of course it has its academic advantages as well. Each band has been approaching Rulers with a different spin, but all have been experimenting and exploring units of measurement and the ways people measure the world.

Mackenzie and her newly-named band, the Hawks, have continued to work on their chair-building project this week, using their chairs as a provocation for understanding the declaration process at the school. They are looking at the history of discovering standard units by recreating an experiment that tested the length of a pendulum’s swing, asking “Can the length of a meter be one second of a pendulum’s swing?” They tested out this hypothesis on the bridge in the workshop.

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Their mission was also to discover if the weight of the pendulum affects the length of its swing. Ben reported that the answer blew everyone’s minds – because it had no effect!

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Sean said that Natasha and Lola sought to increase the precision of their measurements by using a ruler on the floor to measure swing length, doing multiple trials at each swing length to eliminate timekeeper error, and timing ten cycles, rather than one, to reduce timekeeper error.

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Christie and Phillip’s band have embarked on an exploration of bridges during the Rulers arc and are looking at their history, related units of measurement, engineering and planning, seismic planning, and architecture styles. Their all-band project will be building a bridge from the top of their bandspace to the second floor of the mezzanine in the Brightworks space, all the while learning about tools of measurement in a literal sense and how to build connections throughout the community in a metaphorical sense.

First, though, they had to finish their curtain and create a second iteration of the project, since the first one turned out to be uneven and missewed and not what they had planned!

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The band has also started writing blogs! Each student has blog post requirements for reflection. There’s no easy way to link all of them to the main school blog, but I will quote and link as the kids write more.