Sunday, July 3, 2011

Extra"ordinary" Science

Every year I try to incorporate a new project to add to my arsenal of teaching ideas.  Usually, it is in an area that I feel I need to work on and for the past couple of years that has been Social Studies.  However, this year, I decided my Science Class needed something cool that the students could look forward to besides the typical labs from our textbook.  Hence my idea for Space Mission began to take root.

In our science book, we study a bit of astronomy and that includes the planets and their features and characteristics.  After completing the unit in our book, students were then introduced to their Space Mission with a PowerPoint I created.  The mission was to recreate the Solar System of planets out on the playground using colored chalk.  Groups were formed and mission badges were created which would be worn the day of our "mission".   Each group was assigned two planets - I tried to arrange it so each group had a large and small planet.  They began to research their planets and draw an outline of what their planet looked like using the Planet Information Sheet. In addition, the students had to come up with a scale so their planets were the correct size in relation to each other.  This was probably the most difficult part since the planets vary in size so greatly but after they came up with something that was agreeable to everyone, they cut string in the size of the radius of each planet to assist with the actual mission.  We did not worry about distance though - otherwise it would not have fit on our playground. :-)

After a week of research the class embarked upon their journey.  I had ordered a bucket of colored chalk from Discount School Supply for only $2.99 per bucket (Chalk).  The day of the mission, students proudly wore their mission badges and took their radius string and packets outside and showed their artistic side while recreating the solar system.  They definitely enjoyed wrapping up the unit with this fun (and messy) project. 

As always, I reflect back on the project and wonder......what changes can I make to enhance it for the future?  Any ideas - let me know. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fake Facebook - Endless Possibilities

I recently came across this website called My Fake Wall and am in love.  While this site promotes the ability for people to create fake profile pages "just for fun", I see it as a way to have my students research people and present their research in a whole new format!

What's cool about it?

1.  Students can create a profile - picture and all for the person they are researching.
2.  Fake "status updates" can be made.  Just imagine your class doing this for people of the American Revolution.  I can already see a status update for Paul Revere saying "The Redcoats are coming - must warn the others!"
3.  Fake friends can be added to the profile, so students can create an accurate friend list of whomever they are researching.  Even better - these "friends" can comment on the status updates or post a message of their own on the page.

These are just a few great things about this tool that I have seen.  In addition, I'm glad I can create just one generic login for my class and have multiple students sign-in under my login and create different pages.  I can't wait to use this resource with my I just need to think of who I'm going to have them research and create.  Truly the possibilities are endless. You could have kids do famous scientists, mathematicians, past presidents, etc.

What are some ways you would use this website?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flubaroo - It's for You!

Teachers around the world will agree with me that grading papers is one of the most time consuming components of our job.  Enter Flubaroo - a new script that coincides with GoogleDocs that makes grading quizzes and tests a snap. This great tool was introduced to me by our Technology Genius at our school. However, the day he sent the email to a bunch of us about it was on April Fool's Day. As you can imagine, I thought it was a big joke. Either his idea of one or since it involved Google, I thought it was their joke of the year.  WRONG - it's real folks! So, stop sitting here and reading my blog and go to Flubaroo and play around with it. You'll be thankful you did!
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