Sphero balls have become a staple part of many schools Makerspaces and mine is no different. They really do offer amazing creativity and deep learning through visual programming with strong links to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) problem solving skills and computational thinking.
CompNow ran a competition this year to promote the use of Sphero's in education and in particular how they can be included in all areas of the curriculum. It was timely that the Olympics were recently held in Rio and provided an interesting cross curricula topic.
This week students in my Explore class will be learning the basics of blockly programing with the Tickle app and learn how to program Sphero. With an introduction to action art by famous artists such as Jackson Pollock, students will work together to learn how to program Sphero using the Tickle app to create a collaborative art piece! Yes, we are painting and programming a robot. Engagement is high in my classroom and my little programmers are using inquiry to figure out how to code. We begin with programing the Orca in Tickle and move toward programming Sphero. Our grand finale will be a collaborative art piece we can proudly display for our school community.
Diana Rendina gave her middle schoolers a dream assignment: Create something that can fling something else. One student gleefully constructed a crossbow out of pencils, duct tape, and rubber bands. Another built a catapult from Legos. “It’s organized chaos,” says Rendina, the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, Florida. Whether you call it organized chaos or joyful learning, that scene illustrates why the maker movement has galvanized teachers and started a mini-revolution in K–8 classrooms. In “making,” kids ponder a question and then tinker their way to an answer. It encourages critical thinking, creativity, and working in teams, and it can incorporate science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Such open-ended exploration may sound expensive and complicated. But maker materials needn’t be high tech; they can be as simple as markers, cardboard, and dollar-store items. And you don’t need a degree in engineering to guide students.
The University of Florida's Digital Collections offers a huge library of digitized children's books. Thanks to Open Culture I discovered this collection this afternoon and immediately started to browse through it. The books that you will find in the collection consist of works that are in the public domain. You can search for books according to topic, language, publisher, genre, and publication date.
All of the children's books in the collection can be read online. Reading the books online could be a bit difficult for some as there is a border with menus surrounding each page of the books. To avoid that, you can print all of the books for free. The printed version does not display anything but the book as it was scanned.
The Maker Rubric is a simple way to assess the progress and growth of a student maker. This rubric was specifically developed to measure any maker project they complete, whether its 3D printing, claymation, soldering, sewing, puppetry… whatever. It is also a way to, if necessary (dependent on how your school system values grades) assign a numerical percentage to a maker project.
This is a collection of project-based engineering lessons for kids. Project-based learning allows students to control the direction and pace of their learning. Activities that promote investigation, critical thinking, and hands-on subject matter are also central to project-based learning.
These project-based lessons focus on basic principles of physics, structural, and mechanical engineering. Physical models are built from a similar set of materials that can be easily sourced online (links are provided in-lesson).
All of the project plans in this collection are designed to be used in an after school enrichment setting, though you may use and modify these ideas for other not-for-profit purposes provided you cite The Workshop for Young Engineers.
This is a growing and improving collection of lesson plans. Please comment to share your ideas to improve lessons and photos of your designs.
When it comes to learning basic photography concepts, depth of field (DOF) is one of the most important for beginner photographers looking to make the jump to “intermediate.” Understanding what depth of field is, how to alter it in your photographs, and some of the different artistic things you can do with it will all help you progress your photography to the next level.
Apple has released a new 'Classroom' app for the iPad.
Classroom turns your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student device at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning.
Looking for direction in the ever-expanding world of education technology?
You don't have to look hard to find education bloggers. But who are the true trend setters? EdTech is proud to spotlight some of the education industry’s most influential thought-leaders in our latest crop of the top K-12 IT bloggers.
These 50 blogs include veterans from years past, fresh picks from our editorial staff and nominations from our readers. This year, we've tried something new — dividing each blog into one of four categories to focus on where the bloggers’ expertise lies.
Some time ago I wrote a blog post entitled 3 Top Tips for Green Screen Classrooms. It proved to be a popular post, so I thought it was time to do a follow up with three MORE top tips that you can use in your classroom when embarking on multimedia green screen projects. So, take a look at the ideas below, and feel free to submit your top tips in the comments below.
Wanna get your whole school involved in coding and game creation? Maybe even challenge another school and host a maker faire? Connect with others by starting a #makeymakeychallenge and start building your maker community.
Who's ready for a little Halloween fun with Google Drawings? I've created a Halloween-themed magnetic poetry template with Google Drawings for you and your students. There are nearly 100 words in this one, so adapt the words that are appropriate for your grade levels. You can use this as an independent activity, or take it a step further and make it a collaborative activity and see how the poetry evolves. You can use the "magnets" included, or even add your own text boxes to extend the activity.
Five engineering challenges for kids – with wooden clothespins, binder clips, and craft sticks! It’s a simple STEM activity that kids of all ages will love.
Move over, expensive building sets! These simple materials were a huge hit with my boys. The first time we got them out, Owen (almost 7) spent well over an hour busily creating all kinds of designs. And that’s saying something, because out of all of our kids he has the shortest attention span by far.
"Our projects using the MaKey MaKey micro-controller from Joylabz offer participants the opportunity to develop a range of skills in science, programming, music production and art & design. MaKey MaKey
The basic elements of our MaKey MaKey projects can be run individually or together and can be in the format of a drop-in activity, live stage show, workshop or series of lessons. "
As the end of the school year is almost here (already?), our Digital Shop capstones are underway in earnest. Approaching the end of the program's first year, we’re asking ourselves, "What's gone well? What could be better? How should our program evolve for 2016-17?" In this month's post, I share some of our thoughts regarding enhancements to our makerspace design, curriculum, scheduling, and my own skill set.
All the Makerspace resources you could hope for (and more) I first started learning about the Maker Movement in education and makerspaces in late 2013. Since then, I’ve been using this page to compile and curate some of the best articles, videos, blogs, books and other resources that have helped me along the way. My hope is that you will consider this a go-to resource as you progress along your own Maker journey. No matter whether you’re just getting started with makerspaces or are looking to grow your program, there’s something here for you.
I’ve scoured the internet, including all of my favourite social media sites, to bring you a fantastic collection of online inquiry and inventive thinking resources that I know will inspire and motivate both you and your students. The collection includes Lego, science, practical activity ideas, engineering, videos, animation, technology and a tonne of fun facts – so there is sure to be something for everyone!
As the maker movement sweeps the nation, many school librarians are in the early planning stages of incorporating a makerspace into their current programming. Some libraries are struggling to get buy-in and funding from administration, while others are still figuring out how to transform their space. What are the right tools you need to get buy-in and jumpstart makerspaces in schools?
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