Field Trips Around the World with VR

We all know that students remember the things they experience–that’s why we like to take students on field trips when it’s possible.  As teachers we know it is often hard to really communicate ideas about different places that students have never been — they can look at pictures, but it’s just not the same.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could take students to all the places they study?  Talk about an expensive field trip! Or…maybe not!

Over the past few weeks, fourth graders at Oak Grove have been helping me experiment with using Virtual Reality as a way to going on virtual field trips.  As they were studying habitats, they had the chance to actually “visit” habitats around the world using the app Google Expeditions.  I brought in a virtual reality headset that works with a phone and played around with allowing students to go scuba diving in a coral reef, polar bear site seeing in the arctic, safaris in the savanna, and much more.  Since I only have one phone, we also tried out using the app on the iPads without a VR headset, allowing for up to four groups to be participating at a time.

Finally, students then took turns taking each other to different habitats using the teacher console of Google Expeditions and one VR headset.  It was fun to watch them teach each other about what they were seeing in the various places.  I’m excited about the potential of this technology and can’t wait to see how it will transform classrooms in the future.

Virtual Reality from elemitrt on Vimeo.

 

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!

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.

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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.

Tinkerplay

I’ve been playing around with the app, Tinkerplay.  I started with my MakerMonday group of students and successfully printed one to the delight of the child who made it!

Then students in our FACES Special Education class designed characters during their Makerspace time.

Finally, I brought in a class of 22 third graders who are reading The Indian and Cupboard.  They designed action figures to place in the cupboard.

 

From those three trials, here’s what I’ve learned.

  • The smaller the scale, the easier it is for the action figures to break.  I found 75% was perfect.
  • Students can easily be given parameters to keep their figures from getting out of hand.  In the beginning, I had one action figure with 75 pieces!  I limited students on the amount of filament (grams) and the estimated print time.  They had no problem with this.
  • Saving is a bit complicated.  I attached Tinkerplay to our school dropbox account and saved to there.  I found that it automatically named the file with a number based on the time of day it was saved.  That meant, theoretically, if I didn’t clear out the folder before a group began saving the next day, things could get messy.  I also found that it was important to stagger saving so that people didn’t save on top of each other.  One save per minute.  I showed the students how to find the file name after it had saved so they could write it down.  It made it much easier to know whose was whose later.
  • Taking a picture of the finished creation helped students put them together when printing was finished.

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Mouse Traps with 3rd Graders

Mrs. Weikle’s class, with the help of Mr. Clark, visited the Makerspace for a STEM activity. They created Mouse Traps that contained at least one simple machine and one 3D shapes. Then they used Pic Collage to display their creations. Take look below!

Take a look at a few of their traps in action!

 Cross posted at Oak Grove Digital Archive.

3rd Grade Green Screen Explorer Videos

Third Graders used a green screen to record part of their performance for PTA.  Students acted, filmed, and edited their own explorer videos (using the app Green Screen by Doink) in the Makerspace for this project.  If you missed the performance, you can check them out below!

Spheros

The Oak Grove faculty was introduced to the school’s Makerspace at the faculty meeting last week. The project is still in the setup and learning phase, especially with the large influx of materials coming in. Part of my role in the project is to learn to use the new equipment and to explore uses for it that align with curriculum and STEM principles. The first piece of equipment that I’d like to introduce is our set of 5 Spheros. These are robotic balls that can be controlled and programed with iPad apps. They are great for real-life application of math skills, especially problem solving. One app, Drive N’ Draw, is a very simple app that can be used by younger students (even K and 1) with ease. Another app, Macrolab, allows older students to write simple programs that make the balls move in different directions, at different speeds, and with different colors. Changing speeds and colors requires division and percentages, and creating shapes allows students to practice lines and angles and other geometric principles. There’s a lot of math involved, and is appropriate for 4th and 5th graders. You can learn more here: http://www.gosphero.com/education/ 

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3D Printed Ornament Challenge

Fourth Graders at Oak Grove Elementary participated in the White House’s 3D Printed Ornament Challenge.  Check out the description of the contest:

When you’ve got a big house to decorate for the holidays, advanced planning is wise. So naturally, the White House is already thinking about this year’s holiday decor, and we’re going to help them deck their halls. Instructables is excited to partner with the Smithsonian and the White House in this 3D Printed Ornament Challenge. Some of the winners of this challenge will have their work printed and hung in the East Wing of the White House during the holiday season. Additionally, those selected to be displayed at the White House will be featured on the Smithsonian’s state of the art 3D data platform, 3d.si.edu and will join a small collection of White House ornaments in the political history division of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Check out our students’ Instructables and pictures which document the process from start to finish!

Click here to see the USA Holiday Ornament Instructable

Click here to see the O’ America the Beatiful Flag Instructable

 

 

Moon Stop Motion

Check out the Moon Stop Motion videos third graders created!  They used the app iMotion HD.

 View them all here:

Moon Stop Motion — Weikle

Moon Stop Motion — Ryder

Moon Stop Motion — Moretz

Mr. Ryder’s class also created Pic Collages to show the phases of the moon.

Cross Posted on the Oak Grove Digital Archive.