Category Archives: K-12

Power of Love

The Power of Love

You might wonder when you first start watching this video why I would choose to put it on an education blog.  But hang on for the last line, and you will understand.  Even though this is a phone commercial obviously aimed at parents, the message definitely applies to teaching as well.

For more inspirational videos for teachers, check out this Pinterest Board.

Zookazam

For my Phun Phriday post this week, I am writing about an augmented reality app called Zookazam.  There are actually 3 downloadable iPhone apps in this series: Zookazam Lite, Zookazam Pro, and Zookazam Zoo Atlanta.  The first and 3rd are free.  Zookazam Pro currently costs 99 cents.  However, I think I got it for free one day through Apps Gone Free – as I somehow have it on my device and don’t remember paying for it.

zookazamlion

All of the apps are iOS only.  They are iPhone apps, but will work on the iPad as well.  To use them, you need to print out the appropriate target page – based on which app you are trying to use.

With the Lite version, you will only be able to view one animal – a deer.  Zoo Atlanta offers you 6 different animals: Lion, African Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe, Giant Panda, and Eastern Black Rhinoceros. The Pro version will give you more options, of course.  It includes bugs.  You can see all of the animals here.

Though I don’t usually offer education integration ideas on Phun Phriday posts, it might be a neat lesson to have students build habitats around a particular Zookazam creature.

Zookazam is a fun novelty.  You can choose the weather conditions for your animal, and take photos of it enduring rain, snow, and cloudy days.  What also distinguishes it from some of the other AR apps is that it gives you the opportunity to take video in the app.  This allowed me to amuse myself by watching a few pandas cavort right in front of my bulldog’s nose…

 

Chibitronics

There are so many wonderful things that have happened in my classroom as a result of resources people have shared on Twitter, and I have a feeling Chibitronics will be another one that I can add to the list this year.

@GingerLewman tweeted about a Chibitronics kit that she was eagerly anticipating last week.  The name caught my interest so I visited the web site.  When I saw the product, I knew immediately that I had to try it out.   I went with the Advanced Kit because, well, it just had so many cool things included and I hadn’t spent money on anything fun all summer yet ;)

Chibitronics offers circuit stickers.  These are stickers that can be re-used a few times, and include sensor stickers, effects stickers, and LED’s.    Included in the kits are also some conductive tape (which I can already tell will need to be replenished very soon), batteries,  and a Sketchbook.

image from: Chibitronics
image from: Chibitronics

The Sketchbook is not just a blank book.  It includes instructions and templates as well as prompts for creative elaboration on each project. The Sketchbook and the video tutorials (which can be found on their main page) have been highly advantageous for my daughter and I since we are both completely ignorant about electronics – aside from our MaKey MaKey adventures.

Conductive tape can be purchased separately (Amazon, for one, offers different sizes), as can the batteries.  I think one Sketchbook is fine.  But I am going to need to set aside a serious budget for those stickers. We are having such a great time making LED’s blink and fade and twinkle that I have a feeling we will have used the entire supply before it ever makes it to my classroom Maker Studio!

I have been collecting other resources for “making” on this Pinterest Board if you are interested.

TurtleArt Tiles

Yesterday, I featured a great series of images and video taken during a Maker Space event at a public library in Westport, Connecticut.  The man behind the event, Josh Burker, also has a great blog sharing other ideas for making.  The most recent entry caught my eye because it involves using “TurtleArt” and a 3D printer – two things with which I have little experience, but would like to know better.

Josh details an activity in which students use TurtleArt (similar to Logo programming) to create designs on the computer.  These designs are then used to make stamps with the 3D printer.  After practicing using the stamps on Play-Doh, the students stamp clay tiles and paint them to make amazing works of art.

The step-by-step process can be found on the post by Josh.  There are lots of photographs, and it seems fairly straightforward – even for a layperson like me.

I love this intersection of logic and creativity!

TurtleArt image from Josh Burker
TurtleArt image from Josh Burker
Final Clay Tile image from Josh Burker
Final Clay Tile image from Josh Burker

Yes, They Have No Bananas

One pretty standard piece of inventory in a Maker Space seems to be a product called MaKey MaKey.  I posted about the MaKey MaKey and its potential for creativity in April of this year.  If you ever see one demonstrated, chances are that someone will be using it to play a banana piano, or a Play-Doh piano, or even a human piano.  But there are far more uses than just as a piano.

I ran across this Flickr album posted by Josh Burker (@JoshBurker) that pretty much shows every instrument in the orchestra integrated with MaKey MaKey.  Josh had the opportunity to be the “Maker in Residence” for the Westport, Connecticut Public Library for a month this summer.  As you can see from his Flickr album and this video, you can do a lot with cardboard, conductive tape, MaKey MaKey, and Scratch – especially if you are a kid with an endless imagination and a bit of adult guidance.

My absolute favorite piece is the bird.  You will find a video on the 2nd page that details the creation of the bird and its numerous amazing abilities. The 11-year-old girl who came up with this brilliant device is as articulate as she is innovative.

I am really inspired to challenge my students to find a unique way to use the MaKey MaKey when we do this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge.  Since we only have one for our classroom, I plan to have a contest and whoever proposes the best idea will get to use it for their game.  Josh Burker’s collection of images will help the students to see the amazing potential of this tool.

image from: Josh Burker on Flickr
image from: Josh Burker on Flickr
Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 8.07.58 AM

Help Kids Code

It hasn’t been that long since I started collecting resources for teaching kids how to program on my Pinterest Board, but it seems like I already have enough links to keep any interested child occupied from Kindergarten to Adulthood. helpkidscode-logo-100x100 I recently ran across an online magazine, Help Kids Code, that offers even more support for anyone that has a passion for learning how to program. According to the “About” page for the site, the people behind it are well aware that there are many kids who may be introduced to coding and find that it isn’t their niche: “If you find coding fun, learning a programming language is only a start. You also need to know how to debug code, choose technology, define and solve problems, and many other skills and concepts. Help Kids Code provides a high level view of what new coders need to know to become great coders. With links to learn more. If coding bores you, Help Kids Code can help you dive into computer science concepts, problems, and challenges in a friendly way. You can learn the limits of technology, as well as what makes technology so amazing.” The magazine is published monthly, and an annual subscription costs $12.  From what I can tell, you can access the current issues for free.   The June/July 2014 issue has tons of intriguing articles that I’m still investigating – including a treasure trove of “unplugged” activities for learning about computer science.  I’m particularly interested in the problem called, “Santa’s Dirty Socks.” I am impressed by the sophistication and the depth of this site, and think that those of you who are looking for ways to satisfy the curiosity of young people with a passion for computer science will find many valuable links and articles here.