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Day of Play: Mechanical Bulls, Time Machines, Dancing and Mustaches

Maybe you have heard of Caine’s Arcade?  It is a little movement, started by an 8 year old.  This video will restore your faith in humanity and inspire you big time!  It inspired us at Anastasis Academy, so much so that when the second video came out, inviting us to a Day of Play, we were all in. On Friday, Anastasis held our own Day of Play.  We collected boxes (lots and lots of boxes), tape, markers, pipe cleaners, glue, aluminum foil, rubber bands, tubes, scissors and paper.  Then, we let the kids at it.  There were no parameters, no specific rules or directions.  The goal for our students was to dream as big as they could. It is amazing what happens when you invite kids to dream and build apart from any rules or expectations of what the end goal is.  Our students (k-8) gathered in our big “all in” room and built to their hearts content.  The amazing part: no two ideas were the same.  We had plink-o, a fortune teller, a minecraft adventure, a time machine (complete with crystal), ski ball, tilt the ball, an old-school computer made of new parts, a hotdog/snow cone stand, dance dance revolution, ferris wheel, tanks, and a mechanical bull.  You read correctly, a mechanical bull. The students spent about 3 hours dreaming and building.  Some had plans they created the day before, others came in with a blank slate.  After all of the building (and a break for lunch) we gathered to play each others games.  It was SO much fun!  Students even created their own prizes that could be won (mustaches and uni-brows anyone?). The casual observer might have watched this all go down and seen chaos or a waste of time.  A closer look would have revealed the rich learning taking place.  The problem solving, critical thinking, discovery, planning, rich conversations, kids working together, designing, creativity.  Have you ever seen those words describe a worksheet? A lecture?  This was such a RICH learning experience in so many ways.  Best of all: it built and fostered a culture of working together, learning from each other and enjoying each other.  That is no small feat. I saw genius today. I am SO proud of these kids, they truly are geniuses.  Two of our students (different classes and ages) built a tank together.  The tank shot rubber bands and launched a “cannon” water bottle.  These boys decided that the rubber band shooter and cannon should have a “safety” just in case something slipped so that they wouldn’t accidentally shoot anything.  The way they worked this out was truly brilliant.  The cannon water bottle was held in place by a popsicle stick safety.  The rubber band shooter was attached to pipe cleaner that kept the rubber band from releasing unless the safety was off. Our youngest kids built and manned a hotdog/snow cone stand.  My favorite part of the stand was the signs that they created for it.  One of the signs read “Snow cones choose a color: limeade, raspberry, blueberry, grape.”  I love that it said choose a color, not choose a flavor.  SO stinking cute! A dance-loving student created the cardboard version of dance, dance revolution.  She created a dance mat with different colors on it.  Then, she climbed behind her box and flashed construction paper colors. When the color showed up, the player had to step on the matching color on the mat.  Periodically, she would hold up signs that said things like, “you are on fire” or “fail”.  Brilliant! Check out our Day of Play below: Personalized learning should be available to EVERY child, every day. The Learning Genome Project makes that possible.  Please help me spread the word and contribute!

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Google Sky

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 10-07-2008

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What it is:
Google comes out with some really incredible tools and Google Sky is definitely one of them. Think Google Earth for the Sky and you will get a pretty accurate picture of what Google Sky entails. Students can get up close and personal with the Solar System, Constellations, the Hubble Telescope Showcase, Backyard Astronomy, Chandra X-Ray Showcase, GALEX Ultraviolet Showcase, and the Spitzer Infared Showcase. Google Sky also provides students with podcasts about the Earth and Sky. How cool is that? Like Google Earth, students can “zoom in” to a location and pan around. They can also view the sky in different views which include infared, microwave, and historical. Unlike Google Earth, Google Sky can be viewed right from your web browser without a download which makes it very handy for the classroom.

How to integrate Google Sky into the classroom: I think you would be hard pressed to find a school who didn’t have space units woven through curriculum at nearly every grade level. Google Sky is the perfect way to bring that curriculum to life for your students. You can take a virtual field trip to space right from your web browser! The different views and options in Google Sky make it appropriate for kindergarten through college age groups. Your students will enjoy exploring the solar system and learning about galixies with this up close and personal look. This site is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector for whole class instruction, but would be equally enjoyable on individual student computers where they can explore the universe at their own pace. When students zoom in on an object, they can “hover” over the object with their mouse for some stats. So neat!

Tips: As a side note this would be a great site to couple with the Discovery Series “When We Left Earth.” If you haven’t had a chance to catch the series, they are wonderful!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Google Sky in your classroom.

Comments (1)

Hi-
I used Google Sky in my third grade classroom last week, and it was amazing! I just had to do a quick lesson on constellations. I read a little book to intro what constellations are, and then we darkened the room and fired up Google Sky on the front screen, using my laptop and projector. The kids learned so much and loved it! We just were wrapping up the solar system, so we poked around a bit on that portion as well. The students were much more engaged than they were with just the book. At the end, each student received a black piece of paper, and used a white crayon to create their own constellation in the night sky. Thanks for telling me about Google Sky!

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