Daily Schedule

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Geodesic Domes

It's funny how things all fit together so perfectly sometimes. Dr. George has been doing an extensive weeks-long bridge building science project with the kids, which led them all to discover the magic of the triangle. As students experimented with squares and other polygons using straws and paper clips, they found that the triangle was stronger than the other shapes. Why? The triangle always keeps the same shape, whereas in other polygons, all the angles can change.

Then the Kulpers came up with a great mini-theme within a theme by suggesting a project detailed previously about houses of the future.

One of the futuristic designers we have learned about is Buckminster Fuller. While he was not the original inventer, he did develop the mathematics of the geodesic dome, and allowed for the popularization and wider use of the idea. This structure appealed to Fuller because it was so strong for its weight - because of the "omnitriangulated" surface. In other words - lots of triangles!

On Friday, we will build our future houses, using some of the ideas from our planning sheets. Amy and Perry will bring in dyed pasta for this purpose. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun for the kids to build geodesic domes and do various experiments to test their strength. Keeping with the "edible" aspect, we used big gumdrops and colorful toothpicks. They are beautiful to look at.

Either tomorrow or Friday we will see how many books these structures can hold - and possibly deconstruct and change a variable to see what happens. I promise to not let many of the materials be taste tested!

I'm really looking forward to our last field trip of the school year! We will be heading to see Fuller's Dymaxion House at the Henry Ford. Details to follow, but this will be on Friday, June 1.

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