It's hard to believe that my five-week assignment as a summer school teacher has come to an end already! I had so much fun with my students that it hardly felt like work. I had the privilege of working with kiddos who recently moved to our country or who speak another language in their homes. One of our favorite projects all summer was building water bottle rockets and launching them over a hundred feet into the air! You can teach a child about air pressure until you're blue in the face... but until you make the learning practical/authentic for your students, they aren't going to truly grasp the concept. The water bottle rockets were a great hands-on learning experience about pressurized air that generated a lot of excitement in the summer school program.
We started by creating a diagram about water bottle rockets. This was a great time to tie in academic vocabulary of nonfiction text features, like title, diagram, and labels.
We built our rocket as a group. The students decided to use rocks to weigh down the nose cone. Each child then decorated a strip of paper to attach to the rocket.
My kiddos were so proud of the rocket that we created. I was so proud of them for their demonstration of learning!
It was awesome to do a shared writing later that afternoon about their rocket-launching experience and to hear them make conclusions like, "Our rocket went really high because we pumped 100 pounds of air pressure inside" and "Maybe our rocket would have gone even higher if the rocks in the nose cone weren't so heavy." Inside, I was doing cartwheels and a happy dance because they were using the vocabulary from our rocket diagram to make connections in their learning. Love it! Here are some of the ideas that they included in their writing:
I absolutely loved my summer-school teaching gig. Here are some pictures of my classroom. I spent $15 at the Dollar Tree and was able to create a fun, vibrant learning space for my summer school kiddos. I made some tissue paper puff-balls (forgive me if they have a technical name, ha!) and bought some fun tiki/luau themed decorations. Love the Dollar Tree!