Archive for the ‘K’NEX’ Category

Guest Blog: Classroom Lessons related to NNYB Educational Outreach enhance Understanding

Andy O’Rourke with 400 students at Ossining school/NYSTA

By Micki Lockwood

The educational outreach piece is our three-year-long relationship between Public Outreach Coordinator Andy O’Rourke and the Ossining School District. The importance of this work is looking at curriculum through a new lens, for example, you are going to study New York in 4th Grade in Social Studies, Simple Machines in Science and Geometry in math, hmmm… then why not study one of the most important projects happening in our backyard?

This becomes not only understanding the bridge that being built; it brings us back to the history of bridges and architecture — and leads us back to literacy and reading fiction and non-fiction books on engineers, architects, which in turn brings in our science, math, ELA.

We then, of course, want hands-on experiences, and these lend themselves to STEAM, where you can do low-tech to high-tech activities and use technology. You then can use Virtual Reality to travel the world and see architecture and building and even see people within their careers.

This leads us back to The New NY Bridge. We can have meaningful conversations about the falcons and the sturgeon, and the importance of the bridge and the balance in nature. Last year a student here at Claremont School selected one of the winning names — Puente (bridge in Spanish) — for one of the falcon’s new babies. The inquiry and hands-on pieces are what bring about engagement.

I use the New NY Bridge group for my research, but my favorite part is that they are the culmination of all the research we have done here in our STEM Lab at Claremont School. As an educator, I am always revisiting and crafting my lessons to integrate as many subjects into what I am teaching. There are only so many minutes in the day, so the idea is how can I get the most in and have a meaningful impact.

The final outcome from this work is that you can be any of these occupations if you choose. If we didn’t study the bridge, then we wouldn’t know about these careers.

Claremont Elementary School teacher Micki Lockwood shares her enthusiasm for learning with her third- and fourth-grade students. Lockwood’s classes used K’NEX and LEGO® bricks to study and build bridges with a special emphasis on the new bridge.

K’NEX Creativity: Super Wheels at The Trove

Following the successful K’NEX Special – The New NY Bridge and I Lift NY Super Crane Project at White Plains Public Library, a 6th Grade Special: Connect with K’NEX program last week invited students to The Trove to pool their creativity by designing and building their own K’NEX models.

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

“It’s a fun way to learn teamwork and use their imagination to with the K’NEX,” children’s librarian Terry Rabideau said. “They learn how the various shapes and sizes fit together, they’re looking at colors. It’s a chance to be creative.”

Teamwork plus creativity yields a cool model K'NEX jeep/TR

Teamwork plus creativity yields a cool model K’NEX jeep/TR

The result: a colorful vehicle that would’ve stood up to the recent snowstorm.

* * * * *

Children in grades 3 through 6 living in White Plains are invited to “Make A Superhero Cape!” program on Friday, Jan. 30, at 3:30 p.m. Details are here.

Super crane draws fans in all weather/© Janie Rosman 2014

Super crane draws fans in all weather/© Janie Rosman 2014

Check out K’NEX replicas of the New NY Bridge and the I Lift NY super crane at The Trove — and the super crane via the viewing area in Tarrytown.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Cottage Lane Students’ New NY K’NEX Bridge

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum was as excited as his young students when project officials paid a second visit to Cottage Lane Elementary School.

“Fifth-grade science has a unit of study on bridge design that teaches engineering science,” Tanenbaum said. “Doing engineering with them, and building the K’NEX bridge, has been a wonderful experience.”

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

And since he’d never seen K’NEX pieces, Tanenbaum learned along with them. The bridge model — which includes cars, bicycles and a kayak or two below the spans — is prominently displayed and has gotten much attention.

“My students were thrilled to be part of the project in their own way. It’s hands-on learning for them to figure out how to engineer a copy of the bridge,” Tanenbaum said.

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

Year two of project officials’ five-year Educational Outreach Program focuses on “A Solid Foundation.” Unveiled in October 2013, the program, interest quickly spread. Well, that might be an understatement.

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

“They brought in part of the rebar, which is the size of your arm. The kids were excited to see and touch it,” Tanenbaum said of the presentation, which focused on the concrete batch plants and how the foundations are being constructed.

Tanenbaum was bicycling on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s shared use path with the I Lift NY set out for New York last December. The kids tracked its six-week progress with a geography lesson or two added for good measure.

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

New York State is considering adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. “The engineering standards especially are wonderful, and the kids have a real-life model in their neighborhood,” he said. And how!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Fascinated by the I Lift NY Super Crane

“Combine the two, make the engineer sketch like an artist and make the artist analyze like an engineer, and you are half-way there.” — German designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann.

Coming to a river near us/NNYB Outreach

Coming to a river near us/NNYB Outreach

We followed the Left Coast Lifter‘s journey from its Oakland, CA, departure in December to its arrival in New York Harbor. Photographers Phil Little and  Bjoern Kils saw the I Lift NY — escorted by tugboats Lauren Foss and Iver Foss — greet the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower about six weeks later. Will Van Dorp, who blogs at tugster: a waterblog shared his views as the crane was en route.

Remember when Contra Costa Times reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen mused in May if the name Left Coast Lifter might be too much for us? And something about the bridge replacement project being “less prestigious” or similar nonsense.

Well, Lisa, if you followed along, you’d know that before 5 p.m. the day I blogged about it, project officials said the crane had been dubbed I Lift NY.

Cub Scouts Pack 6 Crestwood with their K’NEX model of the I Lift NY super crane/New NY Bridge Outreach

Cub Scouts Pack 6 Crestwood with their K’NEX model of the I Lift NY super crane/New NY Bridge Outreach

And guess what? Kids here are building models of the New NY Bridge and the I Lift NY from K’NEX pieces while learning about math and engineering, being creative, assisting as part of a team, and problem-solving.

Were similar educational projects created after the crane arrived in California, where it remained for more than four years?

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Paralleling the Real Deal: Build With K’NEX!

During September, 24 kids and four high school volunteers met weekly at The Trove at White Plains Public Library. Their mission: to build replicas of the New NY Bridge and the I Lift NY super crane using K’NEX pieces.

Teamwork, learning, creativity/New NY Bridge Outreach

Teamwork, learning, creativity/New NY Bridge Outreach

Children’s librarian Terry Rabideau found it interesting to see how the kids each chose different jobs within their teams. “Some would find the K’NEX pieces, and some would actually build. Some were problem-solvers and figured out how the pieces fit together,’ she said.

While The Trove’s LEGO® Build Club meets each month, the library never hosted a short-term project like Build With K’NEX! for which kids work as a team. “What was fun was watching them come back every week, knowing they had to continue where they left off,” she said. Just like construction crew at the project site.

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

“It gave them a great sense of pride and accomplishment,” Rabideau said. The month ended with participants receiving special certificates and enjoying a cookies-and-juice party with their parents. “Many of the adults hadn’t seen the structures and were amazed at what the kids built,” Rabideau said.

Both models are on display at The Trove, 100 Martine Ave., White Plains. Call 914-422-1476.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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