Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mining for Gold Gets Even Better!

Gold fever! It's what drew thousands of men to California in 1849 and it still sparks student excitement and dreams of wealth today!
It's difficult for students to fathom the tedious process of finding gold. After examining pictures of gold mining equipment and learning how each tool was used, as well as watching "how to mine" videos, students brainstorm for improvements they would make in mining equipment.
Using everyday materials from our STEAM box and recycle bin, kids worked in groups to design new and improved mining equipment. It was amazing how creatively they problem solved! This group below decided to combine a long tom with pan because they felt too much gold was being swept away in the river and the pan (with mesh) would catch the extra gold dust.
This group below felt a mining pan needed handles and a lid so when they vigorously swirled the water, sand, and dirt in the pan, the gold wouldn't fly out; LOL!
 After designing and building their new and improved mining tool, students used SketchUp to digitally create their tool. SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications.  Kids seem to pick it up intuitively!
 Next, each student wrote about their new design and the improvement features.
Click HERE to download Gold Mining Equipment STEAM Challenge planning sheets.
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6 comments:

  1. Love this idea. I bet your kids had so much fun doing this while learning. You have the best lessons.

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    1. Thanks, Deann! Yes, they loved building the new mining tool, as well as creating it on Sketch-up!

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  2. Your introduction to this project is perfect! It gave the students such purpose and an understanding of the problem. (plus learning some history didn't hurt, either!)They used a 3D comuter program too? I'm impressed!

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    1. Thanks, Margo! It's amazing how quickly the kids take to the program. They love exploring all that it can do!

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  3. Never heard of SketchUp. Can't wait to try it!!

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    1. Your kids (& you!) will love it! We used it to "build" California missions, too!

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