I came across these QR code riddles for May on The Techie Teacher Blog, and tried them with my gifted 1st graders yesterday. We had not done any QR code scanning this year, yet, so it was a novel experience for them. I showed them the riddles first, and had them predict the answers in groups. Then I put a page at each table, and let them go around and scan the answers. They loved them, but it was good we “reflected” over them afterwards, as some of the puns needed to be explained. Thanks, Julie Goode, for providing this fun learning activity for free!
My students love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activities. It gives them the chance to be creative – and a bit silly. I’ve made a couple of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packets for different themes, and my fourth graders got their first glimpse of the Summer Pool Party packet yesterday. I currently have the Summer Pool Party packet on sale for a $1.00 (.50 discount) at Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also purchase other S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packets at my TPT store. They are a great activity for the last weeks of school!
I absolutely LOVE this idea from Miss Trayers at Not Just Child’s Play. She asked her young students to use some of Margaret Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity icons in a frame centered on their moms. As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to try it with my own first grade GT students. I broke out our Depth and Complexity stamps, and they went to town. You should have seen the look on one boy’s face when I asked the class to use Multiple Perspectives to think about what it would be like to be a mom. It’s a good bet that’s never been at the top of his list of goals! For more examples, you can click here.
I have a Fun Friday video for you of a young man named Audri and his very complex Rube Goldberg contraption. Audri was 7 when he made this video, and aspires to one day study robotics at MIT. I have no doubt that he will achieve all of his dreams! If you feel like playing a virtual Rube Goldberg game, you can head on over to Goldburger to Go at PBS Kids.
Last November, I posted about a new toy that was expected on the market this April. I just received an announcement from Fat Brain Toys that they have GoldieBlox in stock now for $29.99.
In case you don’t remember, GoldieBlox is the creation of Stanford graduate, Debbie Sterling. She intends to produce a series of these toys that are designed to encourage young girls to engage in engineering. The first kit of the series, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, includes a book and a project kit. The minimum recommended age is 6 years old.
In my first post on GoldieBlox, I mentioned my discouragement in finding so many online toys that were labeled with traditional gender roles. I applaud Debbie Sterling’s attempt to even the playing field by creating an engineering toy that may have more appeal for girls, but I still hope for a near future when there is no distinction. That being said, this looks like an interesting educational toy, and I would love to get feedback from anyone who uses it with students or their own children.
To get my students’ creative juices flowing, I allowed them to choose from some Easter S.C.A.M.P.E.R. prompts this week. (I also offered some Spring prompts for those who don’t celebrate Easter). If you are not familiar with S.C.A.M.P.E.R., you can view my original post about it here. The two most popular prompts were for “Rearrange” and “Combine”. The first asked, “If Easter was rearranged so the Easter Bunny would get gifts instead of you, what would you give the rabbit who already has all of the carrots he needs?” And for the second one, “Give the Easter Bunny another famous character as a partner, and tell how his or her talents could be helpful to the Easter Bunny.”
You can borrow the above prompts if you like, or if you would like the whole Easter Creative Thinking packet, you can download it here for a $1.00. You can also find the Spring one and the Summer Pool Party one at my TPT store.
I originally found this on KB Konnected, and made the mistake of trying it out. I immediately knew it would make a good Fun Friday post, but I was so engrossed in playing the game that I never got around to writing about it. So, here it is, finally. What I love/hate about this game is that there are no instructions, and it gets increasingly more difficult. It’s great for encouraging logic and problem/solving. Duck: Think Outside the Flock is flash-based, so you probably can’t access it on an iOS mobile device unless you try using something like Rover.
Fantastic Contraption is my link for you for this Fun Friday – which is particularly fun, because our district’s Spring Break begins tomorrow! This website reminds me a bit of the Bubble Ball app for iOS. Kids who like to build and problem solve will enjoy this site. This is a great way to emphasize the importance of mistakes, and how we can learn from them. There is an option to pay for the full version ($10), but I was completely satisfied with the free version. I thought the tutorials were very helpful, so definitely encourage your students to walk themselves through those. Many gifted students will skip immediately to the hard levels, get frustrated by their difficulty, and quit. Remind them that starting from the beginning is not a sign of weakness!
By the way, I would like to congratulate Cindy and mitzif, who commented on my Write about This post, and won app codes for the full version! (Brad was kind enough to offer an extra one.) If you haven’t had a chance to check out Write about This, and you happen to be on Spring Break next week, too, you should take a moment to try it out!
One of the creative thinking tools that my students learn is S.C.A.M.P.E.R. It is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange. It was originally developed by a man named Roger Eberle. Here is a link to a post I did about S.C.A.M.P.E.R. in December.
I am currently offering my S.C.A.M.P.E.R. St. Patrick’s Day packet for free on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can download it here. I also have several other S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packets for sale (Easter, Spring, and Pool Party). Below are some examples from my classes of creative thinking from the St. Patrick’s Day packet. If you would like to see some more examples of class work, here is a link to our class blog. (It would really tickle the students if you commented on their work!)
(If you are looking for another fun St. Patrick’s Day activity, you might want to take a look at my “Trap a Leprechaun” post. Since my Kinders are currently studying “Inventor Thinking”, they are going to be inventing leprechaun traps this Friday with recyclable materials. I’ll share some of their results next week! Also, here is a great collection of St. Patrick’s Day links from Technology Rocks. Seriously.)
My second grade gifted and talented students are currently studying bridges. We have been using the PBS Building Big site, which has some great interactive labs and suggested classroom activities. We have also been using the K’Nex Bridges kits, and will be exploring the “Bridge that Gap” challenge (Here are some other K’Nex Challenges). There is also a Structures Curriculum packet that is a free download from K’Nex. Here you can find a great compilation of famous bridges. One of my favorite new resources, though, is a pair of iPad apps that allow the students to learn about different materials and types of bridges by making their own and testing them. They are very similar. One is called, “Bridge Constructor Playground.” This one gives a tutorial that slowly introduces the different types of materials and methods. Users can build virtual bridges and test them with cars and trucks. What I like about this app is that you can have many different answers for each phase. What I don’t like about the free version is that it has an advertisement between each level. (The kids quickly learned to hit the “x” every time, though. ) The other app is merely called, “Bridge Constructor.” In this one, you are given different scenarios and budgets for your designs, and must stay within those constraints to meet the challenge. There is a free version of this app, as well, and it did not appear to have as many ads as the “Playground” version did.
We are going to add some depth and complexity to our lesson by talking about multiple perspectives and the ethics of building bridges. The 2nd graders truly seem to be enjoying this portion of our “Structures” unit, and we may have a hard time moving on!