Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Presentations to the Elementary School Kids

Today we had the 1st, 3rd, and 6th grade class of the Meadowlark Elementary School. We had them over for their viewing pleasure of the dome.
We entertained them with the construction of mini hexagons and little pentagons. We showed them videos of dinosaurs, volcano eruptions, and the fast moving turrent of a river, all inside our newly built planetarium.
Loud. Hectic. And full of the sound of little kids laughing at the giant T Rex as it swung its head to the audience. It was a blast getting to see the little ones faces and the great sound effects they made. They were very excited and energetic. I think this was a very good experience not only for the kids, but also for us to watch as well. Granted I could recite the whole movie in its entirety. It was still wonderful to just sit and watch all the kids react to the dome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Assembly Success!

We did it finally!

We started 4th period with about 45 students available to assemble the dome. Everyone had a designated spot to hold or to insert rivets.

By the end of the hour........ta da! We did it! On Monday, they will attempt to add the 1 meter side walls. The structure right now is 16ft in diameter - making it 8 ft tall.

Assembly 2nd failure

Friday morning, we arrived to assemble the dome. We started with the top pentagon, and started attaching the half hexagons to each side of the pentagon. This was going very well yet requiring all students to hold a vertex point of the dome.

Next, we went to attach the second tier of pentagons.......and Mrs Combs stopped us. Oh Oh! The assembly of most of the 1/2 hexagons was incorrect. The hexagons needed to be assembled so all of the C lengths were in the interior of the hexagon....and the other edges were B length. The only way that you can attach the hexagons and pentagons is if they have matching edges of B length. The hexagons had edges of C length. Dang it!

So, the next hour was spend disassembling the entire dome again......we learned very quickly on how to use the rivet remover. So, by lunch time, we were back to starting from square one.

Assembly Analysis

From our first failure, we realized that the binder clips simply couldn't bind strong enough to keep our giant dome together. We decided that we needed to find another way to bind the tabs together - without adding weight. First, we thought about more bind clips.......but we decided that would be too much weight. Next, we talked about velcro. If we could find velcro that had strong enough adhesive - that would work. However, keeping the male and female parts of the velcro aligned might be difficult.

In the mean time, Mr Beals found a website advertising cardboard rivets. He ordered them express mail, and they showed up on Thursday morning.

Thursday afternoon, we started assembling the pentagons and half hexagons back together with the cardboard rivets. We needed to assemble the polygons with binder clips, and then Mr Beals and Mrs Combs came around and drilled hole for the rivets which we could then snap together. These were all ready for the classes on Friday to assemble the dome.

Assembly failure :(

When we first started putting our dome together, we got into groups and started making six pentagons. We used only three tabs per triangle side. With the tabs folded, we connected five triangles to make our pentagon. It is elevated so we can make our dome more structured and so it will curve while putting it all together. Next, we put together the hexagons together separately, putting the pentagons aside during construction. We made five hexagons. Each hexagon will be clipped onto each side of on pentagon. We lifted the center pentagon (the to be attached to our five hexagons) and started connecting one side of each hexagon to one side of each pentagon. After only one hexagon is connected, it gets much more difficult, and unbalanced. Putting the second hexagon on became a challenge. To put the third hexagon on, we had to disconnect the hexagon by taking off one side of a triangle to connect the rest of the shape to the center. While connecting the hexagon, some clips began slipping off, causing the beginning of our dome to collapse, and us to backtrack our work.

All of our work collapsed. Instead of building from the top, down, we try building from the bottom, up. We try making out half hexagons. We connected the half hexagon to a full hexagon. Then connected thus to the pentagon. Once the entire bottom was put together, we started connecting a hexagon to the bottom layer. People stood on the inside of the dome. They would be the ones holding the top so others could clip it on to nearly complete our dome. Another group used half hexagons and connected them to the top pentagon. When completed, the half hexagons will be connected to the other half on the dome. We fixed the parts that had been undone.

ONE person tripped. And the ENTIRE dome fell apart. We have to restart again. We redo it by taking the base o half the dome (a part that we managed to save) and putting it on the ground. Its looking like we are going to save our little progress for another day.

Megan S.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cutting Complete!

We've finished cutting the triangles that will eventually make up the pentagons and hexagons of the geodesic dome/planetarium.

Tomorrow, we will begin to assemble all of the pieces and will (hopefully) watch the large dome take shape!