Get Qurious: Interactive and Digital Play Kit

Get Qurious: Interactive and Digital Play Kit

 

 

What it is: Get Qurious is a company who’s goal is to keep kids curious, creative, and expressive by combining technology and play. The Get Qurious Maker Box is packed full of interactive play opportunities. In this box, the story of the Three Little Pigs comes to life in ways like never before with interactive games, puzzles, and activities that encourage creativity and discovery. Students can scan physical play pieces with the Get Qurious app and the play pieces come magically to life. In the box students will find story cards, masks, a puzzle, and a sticker book. Each piece comes to life when scanned in the app. The story cards help students sequence the story, and bring the story of the 3 Little Pigs into animated life. When students put on the masks, they become part of the story through augmented reality, students can tap the microphone button to record themselves as they re-inact the story. The puzzle building activity lets students build their own house. The pieces of the puzzle can be scanned to bring the house to life in 3D. The reusable stickers in the sticker book let kids create their own version of the Three Little Pigs.

How to integrate Get Qurious Maker Box into the classroom: The Get Qurious set brings the story of the Three Little Pigs alive in new and fun ways. I particularly like the way students are encouraged to think about story sequence, how they can remix the story to highlight a different point of view and characters, and the way they can become part of the story. This set is a wonderful way to bring the joy of reading to life. Students can interact with the familiar story as a center activity, or as a take-home kit. If you teach in the primary classroom, Get Qurious could be a great kit to send home with students throughout the year. A lot of times, parents may not have time to, or simply don’t, read with their children at home. The Get Qurious kit is engaging enough that you won’t have to “convince” your students to go home and read. The kit encourages exploration and discovery and combined with the app, leads students through the familiar story in new ways. For your struggling or reluctant readers, the Get Qurious app really shines because it offers immediate reading support as they scan story cards in the app. Students can record their reaction to the story, or expand on the story to tell it from a different point of view. They can also practice re-mixing the story using the re-usable sticker book and app.

Tips:

While I love the intent behind Get Qurious, a few cautions: 1) It is called the Get Qurious Maker Box. The name is a bit of a misnomer, it definitely isn’t what you think of when you think of the Maker Movement. While it does blend technology and play, I wouldn’t call it a Maker Box. If you are looking for resources for your Maker Space, this isn’t it. This kit is better billed as a blended learning play kit.  2) The recommended ages are 4-9 years old. I think it appeals more to the 3-7 age range. This is best for prek through second grade classes.

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Get Qurious was generous enough to send me a kit to explore for this blog post. Thanks Get Qurious!

Fold it: Solve Problems for Science and Change the World

What it is: Fold it is a puzzle game based on science that helps change the world.  Download the Fold It game and puzzles for free and contribute to the understanding of protein folding and amino acids. By playing this game, students take part in actually contributing to science.  The implications of the Fold It game are huge, playing this game helps scientists better understand protein structure prediction and protein design.  This means that by playing a little puzzle game, your students are contributing to better understanding of the role proteins play in diseases such as HIV, cancer, and Alzheimers, and even bio fuel technology.  Scientists collect data from the game to find out if humans pattern recognition abilities and puzzle solving abilities make them more efficient than computers at pattern folding tasks.  If it turns out that humans are more efficient, human strategies can be applied to computers to make the process even faster.

How to integrate Fold It into the classroom: If your students are currently learning about cells, proteins, amino acid, and biological make up, Fold It is an incredible way for them to really understand all of these working parts, while contributing to science.  The puzzle and pattern nature of this game should appeal to a wide range of students…who doesn’t enjoy a good exercise in pattern recognition and problem solving?  On the about page, your students can read the background “briefing” about the game and the science that they are contributing to by playing the game. There is also a Fold It wiki with great links for more in-depth learning and understanding.   Not only will your students be learning important science concepts (I’m talking the building blocks of life here!), they will also be actually contributing to science by playing.  How cool is that?!  There is a large collection of puzzles with new puzzles being released and completed puzzles expiring. Don’t know anything about biology? No problem, you can play the game without understanding the biology concepts behind it (although for me, knowing the background of what I am looking at makes it that much cooler!).  Check out the blog where you can read the results of how the game play has affected real science.

Tips: The idea of building games to impact the real world is incredible to me, the first time I had considered this was when I watched this TED talk by Jane McGonigal.  If you haven’t seen it yet it is worth a watch!  You can read my original post about this TED talk here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Fold It in your classroom.

Kidopo

What it is: Kidopo is an online coloring application where kids can color online coloring books.  The application simulates a real coloring experience (in other words you can color outside the lines and the more you color over a spot, the darker it gets.). There are a lot of coloring pages to choose from with categories like animals, cars and transportation, cartoons, food, toys, holidays, learning, circus, sports, music, nature, occupation, seasons, and more.  Kidopo has fun printables for the classroom including coloring sheets, bookmarks, birthday printables, awards and certificates, mazes, writing paper, connect the dots, room decorations, and stickers.  You will find a collection of flash games for kids including brain games, card/board games, math games, memory games, puzzle games, science games, and word games.  In the craft section of the website are videos that walk students step by step through a craft.

How to integrate Kidopo into your curriculum: The online coloring book on Kidopo is a great way to help primary students practice mouse manipulation.  I like that you can color inside or outside of the lines just like in a real coloring book.  If you are in a computer lab setting, the Kidopo coloring book is a fun way for students to practice, and a good way for you to gauge where their fine motor skills are.

The printables on Kidopo are perfect for the classroom.  Bookmarks are always fun classroom give aways and the awards and certificates are a good way to recognize your students.

The learning games on Kidopo make a good practice center activity on classroom computers.  My favorite are the math games that help students with fact recall through fun arcade-type games.   In the word games, you will find a fun game called Word Frenzy that will give your students a place to practice typing.  Check out the games, some are better than others but they are definitely worth a look!

Tips: One of the downfalls of Kidopo are the advertisements in the sidebar and introducing the games.  I use websites with this type of advertising to teach my students about how to spot ads and discuss with them why ads are placed on websites.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Kidopo in your classroom!

Trick.ly

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What it is: There are several url shortening tools out there that let you shrink down a cumbersome url into something more manageable for sharing.  Trick.ly is a url shortener with an added feature: it can be password protected.  When you share the url, you can add a clue and a password that has to be used in order for the shared website to be accessed.  You may be wondering why you would want to password protect a url in the classroom, I’m glad you asked… 

How to integrate Trick.ly into the classroom: I am constantly sharing shortened url’s with my students, it makes it easy to get all my students to the same website quickly.  Trick.ly adds the ability to password protect the url.  This could add a layer of learning and fun to accessing websites in the classroom.  Give your students a Trick.ly shortened url with a secret clue that helps students “unlock” the website. For example, if you are using National Geographic Maps website with your students, don’t just send them to the website, give them a clue that is related to the website such as “Capital of Colorado”.  Students have to correctly solve the puzzle to unlock access to the game.  The password “Denver” would provide students with access to the website.  Create Trick.ly shortened url’s with math, geography, history, spelling, vocabulary, science, or foreign language problems built in.  Make the clue to solve related to the end website that students will access.  Kids enjoy solving problems, adding a puzzle to a website gives students a sense of anticipation for the activity they will be completing.  Trick.ly urls take just seconds to create, they are a fast, easy way to direct your students to a website.

Tips: Trick.ly would be a great way to share websites and web pages that you create for your classroom.  We have a school Facebook and Twitter account.  If I wanted to share pictures I took of our school carnival, I could share them with Trick.ly, adding a layer of protection.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Trick.ly in your classroom.

Goldburger To Go: Rube Goldberg Machines

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What it is: I am always finding fun activities on PBS kids site, today I ran across Goldburger to Go!  Rube Goldberg designed machines that made simple, every day, tasks into complicated activities with the help of his contraptions (think Wallace and Gromit).  The students task is to design a machine that will help serve lunch.  The machine isn’t working properly and students must discover which pieces of the machine need a little tweaking.  As students complete the machine, they can test it out and get hints and clues about could be keeping the machine from working.  

How to integrate Goldberger To Go: Rube Goldberg Machines into the classroom: Students are fascinated with machines that work together to perform tasks.  Goldburger to Go is a fun way to challenge your students to think about cause and effect and to consider how all the working parts operate together.  The puzzle game is a good way to get your students thinking about and discussing different types of energy.  Use this website with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard and discuss the types of energy as they occur.  Walk your students through the scientific process as they hypothesize what is going to happen and experiment with adjusting the machine accordingly.  The website also lends itself nicely to studying different kinds of simple machines.  The built in hints help guide stumped students in their thinking.  Goldburger to Go would make a fun center activity or even to play individually in a computer lab setting.  This is one of those thinking games that my students could spend hours playing.

Tips: Students can create and build their own real-life Goldberg machines with fun activities and suggestions found here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Goldburger to Go: Rube Goldberg Machines in your classroom.

Tangram House

Tangram

What it is: I love tangram puzzles, so when I found Tangram House I was thrilled.  This online version of the Chinese puzzle lets students select a puzzle to complete and work with 7 tans (shapes) to fill the puzzle.  The tans can be rotated, flipped, and dragged into place.  The puzzles can be completed online or downloaded for free as an offline game.

How to integrate Tangram House into the classroom: The format of this website would be appropriate for an interactive whiteboard activity.  Split students into teams that will take turns at the board forming the tangrams.  Encourage the students who are not at the board to help out with good directions and clues for the student working on the puzzle.  This is a good way for kids to practice giving and receiving quality instructions and descriptions.  Tangram House could also be used on classroom computers as a math learning center or individually in a computer lab setting.

Tips: Play online or download for free and play offline.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tangram House in your classroom.

APTE Curious Minds Click

 

What it is:  The APTE Curious Minds Click website lets students and teachers create e-puzzles that can be sent and played online.  You can create your own online Crosswords, Word Scrambles, Anagrams, and Secret Codes.  These puzzles can then be played online and sent as an email.

How to integrate APTE Curious Minds Click into the classroom:   Create your own online puzzles for students to play based on any curriculum or subject you are studying.  Puzzles are a fun way for students to practice new vocabulary, spelling words, and new content.  Students can create their own puzzles based on curriculum for classmates to solve.  Students will love creating puzzles for their classmates and solving puzzles that have been created for them.  

 

Tips: In addition to creating your own puzzles, you can solve puzzles that others have created.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using APTE Curious Minds Click  in your classroom.

Toy Theater

 

What it is: Toy Theater is a fun place for students to practice math, reading, art, and music through puzzle type games.  Toy Theater encourages students in k-4 to get their problem solving brain cells working as they explore and discover the games in Toy Theater.  In the art section, students can animate their own cartoon character, put on a puppet show, or make a Matisse.  In the music section, students can make music with the Composer, interact with notes with The Music Maker, or go on a pounding mission with the Drum Beats, you will have miniature maestros in no time.  In Math students can practice math facts with flippy flashcards, or feeding Freddy, and take a math practice test to put those math skills to the test.  In the reading section students can enjoy a good joke, play with words with a sliding crossword puzzle (highly entertaining for teachers too), write their own road sign, or practice their typing skills.  In the puzzle section students brains gt put to the limit with tic tac toe and memory games.  In the playset section, students can create their very own virtual diorama about cars, sea creatures, plant, insects, ships, characters, aircraft, blocks, dinosaurs, and buildings.

How to integrate Toy Theater into the classroom: Toy Theater is a great website to use as a learning center in your classroom.  The short, easy to play games are perfect for short center activities.  I love the puzzle type environment that encourages problem solving and bends the brain a little.  The playset universe would be a great section to use with an interactive whiteboard, students could take turns creating a ‘universe’ to showcase learning on a topic such as ocean, plants, insects, dinosaurs, geometry, etc.  Students can work together to show what they know together.  After students create a playset, have them pull out a writing journal and journal about the playset the class created.  Being a computer teacher I am constantly looking for fun ways to let students practice typing skills.  In the read section you will find a game called letter fall, letter blocks fall from the sky, students have to type the letter before 5 blocks can stack up. There are multiple speeds to make the game a challenge for your different typing levels.  In the computer lab setting, see who can last the longest before 5 letter blocks stack up (there is a timer at the bottom of the screen).  

 

Tips:  This is a great site to send your students to when they finish work early and are asking “what can I do now?”  

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Toy Theater  in your classroom.

Science Museum: Launch Ball

What it is: Here is another one I found thanks to @kjarrett.  Science Museum features a game called Launch ball.  Students are given a series of challenges to get a ball from one point to another through an obstacle course.  The trick is they have to build the obstacle course so that the ball naturally flows to the goal after dropping into the play zone.

 

How to integrate Science Museum Launch Ball into the classroom:  This is a great puzzle/game site to use with your students to get them to approach problems creatively and work through solutions with trial and error.  The game is addicting and will have your students solving problems and thinking logically about how different objects interact with one another.  I love using these mind benders with students, they are elated when they solve a puzzle!    Each time students complete a level, they will learn fun science facts.  After your students have all of the levels down, they can create their own obstacle courses for other students to solve.  

 

Tips:  This is a great game to introduce in science class.  I also love using this site with students on indoor recess days!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Launch Ball in your classroom.

Fantastic Contraption

 

What it is:   I love Twitter, not just for the ability to keep up with what everyone is doing at any given time during the day, but also because I learn about cool technology like Fantastic Contraption from my PLN (personal learning network).  Fantastic Contraption is a fun online game/puzzle, that teaches kids some physics basics.  Essentially students are trying to get a ball from one box to another using different tools to do so.  The puzzles get increasingly difficult with obstacles between the boxes.  This is an addicting puzzle and logic game!

 

How to integrate Fantastic Contraption into the classroom:  Even if you are not teaching your students physics, Fantastic Contraption should definitely make an appearance in your classroom.  Even students who have never had a physics class can play this game (3rd-12th grade) because knowledge of physics is not necessary to work out the puzzles.  Students can figure out the puzzle through trial and error.  What I love about the game is the way that it teaches students how it works through step by step directions on the first two logic puzzles.  This is a great exercise to get your students thinking outside the box and using critical thinking and logic skills.  Use Fantastic Contraption as a year long go to game for free time, snow days, and brain warm up before math or science.  Your students will love this one!

 

Tips: If you aren’t currently using Twitter, join today and find some other educators to follow…you will get all kinds of great ideas for your classroom!  Follow me at twitter.com/ktenkely

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Fantastic Contraption  in your classroom.