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Newtonian Energy Windows

Marios Mantzoukis, Middle Grades Science Teacher

This winter, the grade 8 students hosted their Lower Division peers for the culmination of their science project. The project was titled “Newtonian Energy Windows” and focused on the principles of conservation of energy, conservation of momentum and Newton’s laws of motion.

In the preceding term, Mr Mantzoukis’ and Ms. Williams’ students worked in small teams to design and construct 60 cm by 40 cm by 14 cm windows, made of wood, that contained interactive contraptions. Then students used these windows to demonstrate and explain the main concepts they’d studied to a variety of audiences. The knowledge development phase required that the 8th graders take a deep dive into the physics behind the ideas that they needed to convey, followed by reflection tasks such as journal writing and completing exit tickets.

A Newtonian energy window, featuring a drum

Throughout the process, the students had to work independently and collaboratively on several iterations of their final product, often under the guidance of experts such as Mr. Sarda, Mr. Farnsworth and Ms. Garnier from the iLab. They devised itemized lists of the materials needed, learned and practiced joining techniques, and became apt in the safe use of various power tools, such as table saws, band saws and drills. These transferable skills will be useful in future projects.

Lower Division students visit the 8th grade Newtonian Energy Window showcase
Lower Division students visit the 8th grade Newtonian Energy Window showcase

The grade 3 and 5 teachers responded enthusiastically to our invitation and had their students join us in the eighth floor middle grades science labs for 10 sessions full of fun and exploration. That was the culmination of the project: the grade 8 students had the opportunity to articulate their understanding in teaching their younger peers, while the Lower Division students brought with them a truly inquisitive spirit and got inspired ahead of their upcoming science units and the Invention Convention.

Lower Division students visit the 8th grade Newtonian Energy Window showcase

Thank you to all who made this possible, and we are looking forward to reciprocating the visits!



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