Welcome to the Teaching with Technology blog. If you are looking for something specific, use the categories to the right to narrow down the topic. You can also use the search button. Or feel free to peruse the archives. If you see something interesting or have any questions, please let me know! :)

Breakout EDU


This summer while attending ISTE, I learned about a cool new game for the classroom called Breakout EDU.  Here’s a short video about it.

Since receiving my kit, I’ve played it four times–twice with my college students and twice with fifth graders.  All ages loved it.  For the fifth grade game, I used an adaptation of two of the games on the site (http://www.breakoutedu.com/).  The game centered around missing iPads, and students had to use their knowledge of place value to decode the clues to find them.

There are many games already pre-made to use with the kits (for free) and I enjoy making them up too.  I’m looking forward to playing with some first graders on Halloween!

Light Up Mother’s Day Cards

  • “You light up my life!”
  • “You light up my heart!”
  • “You are the light of my life.”
  • “You make my day shine!”
  • “You make me shine!”
  • “You light my way.”
  • “You shine like a star.”
  • “You are my shining star.”

These are just a few of the sayings second graders used on their light up Mother’s Day cards!

We used paper circuits from Chibitronics to create the circuits behind a shape in the inside of their cards.

Then they poked holes in the shape to help light shine through and came up with catchy sayings for Mother’s Day.  I was so impressed with their creativity and they were so proud of their cards. Take a look at some of them below:

See more of the cards on the Glenvar Digital Archive.

Cross Posted at the Learning Collaboratory.


Plickers Logo Black - Large

Do you have a cell phone or iPad?  Do your students have limited access to online devices?  Then Plickers might be for you!  Plickers is a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.

Setting Up Plickers is Easy!

Plickers Icon - Blue
Step 1: Teacher downloads the Plickers mobile app.  It is free for both iOSand Android – find them on the App Store and on Google Play. It will work on iPads too (just make sure to search for iPhone app)!

Sample Card Image
Step 2: Print Plickers cards.

Step 3: Set up Classes on Plickers Website.

Step 4: Add Questions on the Plickers Website.

Step 5: On the mobile app, choose the question you want to use.

Step 6: Have students hold up cards with the correct answer facing right-side up.  Scan the room with your phone/iPad.

Step 7: Use LiveView Tab on the Website to display results to students.

Step 8: Use Scoresheet under Reports on the Website to monitor student progress, save time on grading, and run detailed reports.

Check out this Slide Show for Help getting started or watch the video below:

How will you use Plickers in your classroom?  I can’t wait to hear about it!


Robotic Fraction, Decimals, and Percentages


I just posted a lesson I’ve used with various 5th grade classes as they were studying fractions and decimals.  We used the Lego EV3 robots, and were able to complete the activity in an hour.

Here’s how the activity works.  Using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot and a touch sensor, each group of students inputs a fraction. Then they convert the fraction into a decimal and a percentage using hand calculations, and double check their work using the EV3 robot. They observe the robot moving forward and record the distance it moves. Students learn that the distance moved is a fraction of the full distance, based on the fraction that they input. For instance, if they input ½, the robot moves half of the original distance. Using this information, students work backwards to compute the full distance. Groups then are challenged to move the robot as close as possible to a target distance by inputting a fraction into the EV3 bot. Four different challenges of increasing difficulty are available in this lesson. Most students complete 2 within an hour, but the extra are included for students who master the concepts quickly.

The kids had a blast with this lesson and were fully engaged.  I love how it really makes them think about fractions in a real sense, and that they have to draw on their understanding to figure out the challenges.

If you have access to EV3 robots and want to try the lesson, you can get it here:



First Grade Force and Motion in the Makerspace


Students in first grade at both Glenvar and Oak Grove used the Makerspace to build hands-on knowledge of force and motion.  They rotated through six centers to investigate and understand Science SOL 1.2:  The student will investigate and understand that moving objects exhibit different kinds of motion. Key concepts include a) objects may have straight, circular, and back-and-forth motions; b) objects may vibrate and produce sound; and c) pushes or pulls can change the movement of an object that moving objects exhibit different kinds of motion.

Maker Center Planning Sheet and Student Reflection

Center 1: Spinning Tops — Circular motion and elapsed time

Prompt: Make a spinning top.  How long does it spin?

Center 2: Air Tube

Make something that will fly.

Center 3: Zipline – pushes and pulls/ straight and circular motion

Design a car that can carry a toy dragon across the room on a zipline.  Explore ways to make the car move smoother and faster.


Center 4: Musical Instrument – Vibration

Create a musical instrument with rubber bands.  Find ways to include higher and lower pitched notes on your instrument.

Center 5:  Racetracks

Build a racetrack.  Experiment with different types of cars, marbles, and balls.  Which ones go faster?  Slower?  Why?

Center 6: Robots On the Move

Make Dash the Robot Move!

 Cross Posted at the Learning Collaboratory.

Hot Wheels Force and Motion


Students in Mrs. Grave’s Fourth Grade Class had fun (while learning) with Hot Wheels cars.  They used the cars to review kinetic energy, potential energy, friction, independent variables, dependent variables, constants, measurement, converting fractions to decimals, and problem solving. Plus they got a jump on 5th Grade Math as the learned to find the average of three measurements

In the activity, they first explored the relationship between the height of the hot wheels trace vs. the distance the car travels.  Then they created their own experiment by changing one variable.  Then, they devised a way to collect their own data and came to a conclusion about the variables in their experiment.

Here are the resources we used:

Design Brief

Learn about Speedometry– FREE Hot Wheels Resources for Teachers