The past month or so, Grace has had a physics block at school. A teacher came in especially to teach this block and he did really wonderful, hands on experiments with them (having them use a pulley to pull him up to the second floor of a barn, pulling his car with a rope in the parking lot, etc.). He made physics, for Grace at least, fun, exciting and approachable.
At the end of the block, he gave the children the option of doing a project or taking a test; Grace chose the project. The only requirements for the project was that it had to incorporate all 6 simple machines- a screw, lever, pulley, wedge, incline plane and a wheel and axle.
Grace made lots of plans and notes for the project and then enlisted her Dad to help her put it together (he had to man the power tool!). Even though she did much of the work herself, it was a wonderful opportunity for them to work together.
(can we all agree to ignore our messy basement)
When Grace first started working on the project, she had the game Mousetrap in mind and her final project does remind me a bit of the game. She also wanted a big finale, so she and her Dad rigged up some electric lights (Harris got in on the action too) to come on once the metal ball hit and completed the circuit (I have no one here to confirm that that's how it actually happened, but it sounds right!).
A little video of the completed project...