This category contains 11 posts

River Classroom Update

Last Wednesday was our last River Classroom at NMWC. We spent the day reviewing what we’ve covered this year and preparing for our Open House, which will be on Tuesday, May 5. Everybody is invited to see what our students have learned this year! I don’t want to give anything away for the parents, but … Continue reading

Testing the Water Wheels

Last Wednesday was the big day… the day that River Classroom finally got to test the water wheels that we’ve spent all year building! We didn’t hook up generators to the wheels yet. We just wanted to make sure they spin. The Rio Chama is up quite a bit, so first we had to review … Continue reading

A Tour of the Abiquiu Dam Power Plant

At River Classroom yesterday, we were treated to a tour of the power plant below Abiquiu Dam! This hydroelectric plant is operated by the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and our tour guide explained the basics of hydroelectricity to our students. Since we have spent so much time discussing electricity this year, almost everything … Continue reading

River Classroom: The Almost Finished Product

Finally, it’s time for the big reveal. What are our River Classroom students building?! I’ll save that for the end of the post- first a few photos from class: What’s a circuit? Can you draw one? Our River Classroom students can! I’m always surprised at how much they retain from class to class, but last … Continue reading

Why Can’t We Just Drink the Ocean?

Many of our activities with Ms. Berryhill’s Earth Sciences class at McCurdy have related to water quality. Water is a critical issue in New Mexico. With decreasing snowpack and increasing water use, we’re headed for trouble. On two previous visits to McCurdy, students asked, “Why can’t we just take the salt out of sea water?” … Continue reading

Engineering in River Classroom

Because of the snow a few weeks ago, we’ve been fortunate enough to have River Classroom two weeks in a row! We’ve been working on some very important activities that will lead up to an exciting finale the next time we meet. I don’t want to give anything away,  but here are some hints…. It … Continue reading

More Math in River Classroom

Last Wednesday was a particularly snowy one in the Espanola Valley. Fortunately for us, schools were open, and we were able to host River Classroom at NMWC! Last time we met, we were measuring the velocity of the Rio Chama using our new favorite equation D=R*T. This week we wanted to include this useful math … Continue reading

Windmills and Water Wheels

Last week was very busy- we taught several classes. On Wednesday, River Classroom was back at New Mexico Wildlife Center for an Engineering Design Challenge! One of our goals for the class is to develop working wind turbines and water wheels that we can hook up to a generator. This really demonstrates how mechanical energy … Continue reading

Building Machines to Learn About Energy

Wednesdays are the best days, not because it’s downhill until the weekend, but because it’s River Classroom time! Yesterday we were back at The Wildlife Center and back to our energy curriculum. We began by refreshing our memories- what’s the difference between a motor and a generator? How do motors work? Where does electricity come … Continue reading

Building Motors

One of the best parts about River Classroom is that our students can handle anything we throw at them. They love to experiment and get their hands dirty. That’s exactly what we did in class to learn about motors and generators. After a short discussion about motors, they jumped right in. We divided into teams, … Continue reading