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Google Doodle, Science Fair, Booklet

What it is:  Google has all kinds of great resources that many of us use daily in our schools.  Every year I look forward to the launch of Google Doodle and wait with anticipation to see what kids from around the US have come up with.  This year, I am in a place where we can even try our hands at the Google Science Fair.  Very exciting stuff! Doodle for Google is now open for 2012 submissions!  K-12 students can express themselves through the theme “If I could travel in time, I’d visit…” as creatively as possible using Google’s logo as their canvas.  The winner gets their image displayed on the Google homepage for a day, $30,000 in college scholarships and a $50,000 technology grant for their school.  The winning doodle will also be featured on a special edition Crayola box.  Submissions have to be postmarked by March 20th. The Google Science Fair is open to students age 13-18.  Students from around the world compete for over $100,000 in scholarship funds, an expedition to the Galapagos, an experience at CERN, Google and LEGO and an award from Scientific American.  Nothing to scoff at! Google also has a new booklet available called “Google in Education: a New and Open World for Learning“.  This is a great resource to see how others are using Google tools in education. How to integrate Google Doodle and Science Fair into the classroom: Google for Doodle and Google Science Fair are such fun competitions for students to get involved in.  Both let students think and express themselves creatively.  If you don’t have time to integrate these contests into your regular school day, consider holding an after school club for a few weeks so that students have a place to gather and participate. I really love looking through the Google Doodles every year.  I was thinking that it would be fun to have the students create a doodle with our school name based on our school theme for the year.  Yearbook cover?  Now that could be fun! Tips:   Share the new Google edu booklet with your colleagues, don’t hog all of those good ideas to yourselves! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Doodle and Science Fair in  your classroom!

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Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Comments (1)

Totally agree, Kelly. I hope more and more teachers embrace the role of guide on the side, as parents make it clear to the policy makers this is what they want for their kids. Maxwell sounds fascinating!

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