Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 5 Wrap-Up

The week flew by in a kind of blur, at least for me. Monkey had lots of playdates and some school. The highlights of the week, as far as I can remember included the first meeting of our Inspired by Calculus math circle, return of yoga classes, Pi day and programming.

Math circle - bodies of revolution was the topic and kids learned how some objects could be made out of rotating curves. He really enjoyed playing with the String Spin applet making some pretty cool objects. And then we sat down to figure out what would happen to a thick book if we were to open it so that its front and back covers touched. We used an old romance novel to model the idea. As a result, we have a pretty new math sculpture that so far has been a hit with our guests, kids and adults.

Yoga - yoga classes started again on Tuesdays. The group is a bit smaller this time, but all the old friends are there. And the kids have so much fun!

Programming - Monkey and his friend got out our old LEGO WeDo set and, unsupervised, built their first robot. It was to be a spybot. They added two sensors - a light sensor and a tilt sensor - to it and hid them very well in the bricks. Then they demanded to program it. I quickly showed them WeDo and they got to work. After about 20 minutes they had a robot that would do the following:

1. Whistle at you until you get closer to it.
2. Stop as you get within 6 inches of it.
3. Show a warning message on the computer screen.
4. Show a different message on the computer screen.
5. Show a third message and make shooting noises if you decide to pick up the spybot.

They had so much fun and wanted to program more. Now they are talking about how they will build a robot that they can race.

Pi Day - Monkey and I explored the relationship between radius of a circle and its circumference. We measured (with string) lots of circles - a cup, a plate, a pot, and tried to predict how many diameters would fit into each circumference. It was interesting how Monkey originally thought that a larger circle would have more diameters in its circumference. So, for a cup it was "3 and a little bit" diameters = its circumference, but for a plate he predicted 4 and a little bit and for a pot - 5 and a little bit. We tested and found out that it was always 3 and a little bit. At this point, Monkey seemed really impressed that all spheres and circles would have the same ratio, "even stars!" So we got him a Bayblade to celebrate. But when I asked Monkey what would the ratio be for the Bayblade, he said it was going to be 2 and a little bit or even 1 and a little bit. So turns out, he generalized pi for all circles larger than the one we started with, the cup, but not for all the ones that are smaller. So we got to work again and measured Bayblade with a string.

And the weekend was filled with even more playdates with friends, a trip to the nursery (he built ramps and roads out of rocks and sticks while we chatted with the owner), helping Papa with a project, and wrecking all sorts of havoc in Minecraft.

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