Gallery: Making machines by problem solving, critical thinking

The sound of whirling drills, clanking hammers, and swishing wood saws rang though the W. L. McLeod Elementary’s intermediate wing.

The sound of whirling drills, clanking hammers, and swishing wood saws rang though what seemed to be a construction zone in the W. L. McLeod Elementary’s intermediate wing on May 19.

Four classes of students from grades 4 to 6 have been learning about simple machines since spring break, and are now building their own compound machine that performs a task, explained Grade 5/6 French immersion teacher Katy Ogloff.

Planning for the unit started in January, when four teachers brainstormed for a cool unit for Grade 5 students, Ogloff said.

“It’s very hands on, with lots of room for expression,” she said. “Students can make many things while still fulfill the same criteria.

“Kids can explore and solve many problems that they haven’t solved before.”

Requiring the use of power tools and saws, the work involved may be very new for some students.

“Others have [used them before] and they tend to help others on the new experience,” Ogloff said.

With support from an EBUS Academy teacher who is well-versed in group project work, students in mixed groups first learned about simple machines such as pulleys, levers, screws, and incline planes over five stations.

Students then brainstormed the kinds of projects that utilize two or more simple machines, created together a plan to be approved by their teacher.

Examples of projects include a catapult built by Grade 4 students Sophia Anderson and Cala Jackson, as well as a heavy-object lifter built by Grade 5 students Mitchell Thomson and Oscar Anderson.

Grade 6 students Siobhan Klassen and Madison Fitzpatrick built a painting apparatus called “Paintarama.”

The project uses a screw to allow the brush to turn, and a lever to move the brush up and down, Siobhan explained.

“[I got the idea when] I was daydreaming and I love to paint,” she said.

Madison added that the group decided not to include certain possibilities while adding others, and performed lots of woodwork.

“I’m so happy…we can paint now,” Siobhan said.