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 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.
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!
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!
“Clockwork Brain” is a fun, free app for iDevices. Sprocket, the robot, gives easy instructions for each of the mini-games that come in the free version. Included are:
★ Scrolling Silhouettes: Trains Visual/Spatial Ability
★ Anagrams: Trains Language Processing
★ Missing Tiles: Trains Arithmetic
★ Chase the Numbers: Trains Memory
★ Size Matters (Unlockable Bonus): Trains Visual/Spatial Ability
You can earn access to trials of the other mini-games offered in the “in-app purchases” by collecting tokens within the game. (Be sure to restrict in-app purchases if you do not want your little one to start buying up more game packs.)
The steampunk look differentiates “Clockwork Brain” from other apps of its type. I also like that it is not another “skill and drill” app, and provokes some different types of thinking. If you are really feeling adventurous, you can set the language to something other than your native tongue, and try to learn some new words while you’re playing!
My holiday series of “Gifts for the Gifted” concludes today with a post on apps that you might want to pre-load on that new iDevice you’re about to set under the tree. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. New apps are released weekly, of course, and there are quite a few older apps that I may not have had the pleasure to try, yet. I will give you some resources for finding apps that might fit your specific needs at the end of this post.
These apps are great for elementary age children, and do not require much reading. If I have previously reviewed the app on my blog, I have included a link so that you can learn more about it.
We will start with the free ones:
- Puppet Pals (this version is for iPad only, but Puppet Pals Pocket works on smaller devices) – a link to my review
- Dinner Not Art - a link to my review
- Crayon Physics (currently free for iPad only)
- Bubble Ball - a link to my review
- CargoBot (for iPad only) – a link to my review
- Daisy the Dinosaur (for iPad only) – a link to my review
- Pocket Law Firm - a link to my review
- Blue Block
- Hue Shapes
- Rover (for iPad only) – a link to my review
- Brain Pop
- Pictorial - a link to my review
- Shadow Move - a link to my review
- 123D Sculpt
- Solitaire Chess - a link to my review
- IQ Epilogue
And now for the not so free apps that I highly recommend are worth the current price:
- Puppet Pals Director’s Pass($2.99) - this paid version offers a lot more characters plus the opportunity to use your own pictures as characters or backgrounds
- WordFoto($1.99) - a link to my review
- Type Drawing($2.99) - there is a free version, but I did not like that one
- Windosill($2.99) - a link to my review
- Scribble Press($2.99) - this used to be free, but not any longer; still worth it, in my opinion – a link to my review
If you are looking for ideas for more apps, here are some of my favorite resources:
- Appitic - a link to my review
- iGame Mom
- iPadapps4school - new site hosted by Richard Byrne, author of Free Tech 4 Teachers
- Tech Chef 4u - a link to my review
You can also check out my Pinterest boards.
And, finally, if you bought a new iPad for your child, you might want to read these reviews of child-friendly iPad cases.
Engage Their Minds will be on hiatus next week, so Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!
My series of holiday (or any time) “Gifts for the Gifted” continues today with a set of adorable dolls and puppets from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. The Little Thinkers dolls include a wide array of influential personalities from different cultures and fields of study. There are scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, revolutionaries, and even radio hosts (N.P.R.’s Carl Kasell). Inspire your own little thinker with a cuddly Galileo or Frida Kahlo. And if your child has an active imagination, you might want to look at the very reasonably priced puppets – which include some of the same notable personages, but also offer a few different ones, such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. I would bundle one of these with a children’s book; you can find several of the famous names in Chicago Review Press’ “For Kids” series, some of which are listed on this Amazon list.
I know a lot of parents are considering bestowing iPod Touches or iPads to their children for Christmas, so next Friday, I will be giving a list of apps that you might want to load on your child’s iDevice before you put it under the tree.
Here are links to my previous “Gifts for the Gifted” posts:
Also, you might want to take a look at my Pinterest board, which has even more ideas.