Sunday, 30 October 2016

Rocks and Architecture

Here are a few of the things we did... This Week In Gifted!

Rocks and Architecture

We learned that in ancient Egypt and Greece architecture was influenced by the type of rock that was available to use as a building material.  Sedimentary rocks, such as the limestone blocks in the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, do well under compression.  The pyramid shape mimics that of a mountain with the blocks at the top only having to support their own weight.  The blocks at the bottom have to support the weight of all the blocks above them and the pyramid shape helps to distribute the load.

The Pyramids at Giza
We also learned that the huge and beautiful sandstone columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall at the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor, Egypt are actually made of huge puck shaped stones stacked on top of each other.  (You can't just take a long slab of sandstone and turn it 90 degrees to make a pillar--the rock will fracture.)  Stacking the stones like pucks to make columns takes advantage of the fact that the horizontal layers of the sandstone do well under compression.  The Egyptians had to have many columns close together to support the sandstone roof since the rock spanning the columns does not do well under tension.  
Columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall at the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor, Egypt.  It looks like a storehouse for wide columns!

In Greece we learned that the presence of marble allowed the ancient Greeks to build more slender columns with larger spaces between them because marble is a much stronger rock.  Look at the 'slinky' columns in the photo of the Erechtheion, a temple devoted to Athena and Neptune on the Acropolis of Athens.  The columns are tall and well spaced out due to the strength of marble!

The Erechtheion, the Acropolis of Athens.
Next week we will look at how geology shaped the architecture of ancient Rome!

Programming with Scratch

This week we explored the idea that when you are programming you have the 'tell' the computer every step you want it to carry out.  You have to be specific and you have to use a common language. The students went on to follow a Step-By-Step set of instructions on how to make a 'sprite' (character) in Scratch dance. 

Thanks for dropping by to see what we've been doing!

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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Scratching the Surface

First Class for Wednesday Morning Group

Our Wednesday morning group had their first class this week.  (Last week was the Naramata Run, so we waited a week until everyone could be there).  The students did the Me in 3D activity I described last week--I've added photos of their creations to the slideshow (link).  They created a cute cat, the Stanley Cup, emojis, aliens, a pie, as well as a plate of pancakes and bacon--yum!

Architecture Introduction

All of the classes discussed what architecture is, then we looked through some great books to find examples of interesting buildings or other structures.  Students were asked to either share three facts about a building that interested them, or share three buildings that they liked and explain why they liked them.  Through this activity we learned about an amazing variety of buildings and other structures!

Scratch Surprise

We did our first activity using Scratch.  Created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a programming language especially designed for kids.  Scratch has a low bar for entry (you can quickly create something without a lot of background knowledge) and a high ceiling (you can program pretty complicated stuff).  This week the students' were given the task of making the Scratch cat do something surprising.  Some students made it change color, meow, glide about a stage, zoom around the screen and much more!  Over the year we will be learning more about computer programming--I'm excited to see where the students will take this!
The Scratch Cat

Thanks for checking in to see what we did... This Week In Gifted!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

First Week

This past week was the first one for the afternoon classes in Penticton and Summerland.  Wow, it was great to finally get together!  We welcomed old friends and met newcomers too.  We discussed our theme, architecture (or arKIDtecture!), and got a bit of an overview of what we'll be learning and doing this year.  We spent the rest of our time together getting to know each other by playing 'Two Truths and a Lie' and doing an activity called 'Me in 3D'.

For this last activity students made a creation in 3D that represented something they were interested in.  Students used a variety of materials and once their creations were complete they presented them to the rest of the class.  It was a great opportunity for students to chit chat and get to know each other while being creative and sharing ideas.  Check out the slides below (link) of some of the creations.  We have students who like dirt biking, music, math, gymnastics, Greek mythology, food, building structures, cats, Lego, family, snowmen, and dinosaurs to name just a few.

Note: not all structures built are pictured.

Next week we'll dive deeper into our theme and the Wednesday morning group will have their first class.

Thanks for stopping by to find out a little of what we did... This Week In Gifted!

Sunday, 9 October 2016