“Wide-Open Spaces” Want creative thinkers? Help kids create, says Mitch Resnick – MIT Spectrum

THE LIFELONG KINDERGARTEN GROUP AT THE MIT MEDIA LAB, led by Mitchel Resnick SM ’88, PhD ’92, is known for its educational innovations: the Computer Clubhouse Network, an after-school environment where kids from underserved communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies; a 30-year collaboration with the LEGO company begun by Resnick’s mentor, the late MIT professor Seymour Papert, which yielded the robotics kits branded as LEGO Mindstorms; and Scratch, a visual programming language

Read an Interview with Mitchel Resnick on the idea of letting kids create: Wide-Open Spaces – MIT Spectrum

Remix…Don’t Reinvent STEM Lesson Plans

As I get ready to embark on my newest adventure of switching from an elementary Infotech teacher to an elementary STEM teacher, I have been doing a lot of lesson planning.

Luckily there are tons of STEM lesson plans readily available on the web. Some obviously are better than others but here is a list of the best ones I have encountered. Check them out.

CUE SteamPunk 

Sphero SPRK Lessons

Dash and Dot Curriculum

Polar 3D Printer Cloud 

Brian Briggs • Rock Star Drone AcademyCoding Playground

Engineering is Elementary

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STEM Collaborative2

NC State: The Engineering Place

STEMpact: Lesson Design ResourcesSample Plans

Lesson Plan Template2

10 Ways Glowforge Can Disrupt Education

It’s been a long time since I have been more excited about the introduction of a piece of technology than I am for the Glowforge.

Aside from all of the personal ways I can see Glowforge help bring my creativity to life, this single device has the potential to revolutionize so many of the ways we do things in the typical school. I have often said, “There is a lot of money to be made in education…just not in teaching.” Schools spend a ton of money that goes to vendors, but here are 10 ways a single Glowforge can change that.

1. Die Cut Letters – The Ellison die cut machines have dominated the bulletin board making market my entire career and their stuff is expensive. A single set of alphabet tiles runs $500 and it takes a ton of time to plan and cut that “Hurry Spring” signage. With a Glowforge you can throw a stack of construction paper into the machine and have your whole set of cut-outs zipped out in a couple of minutes…and you’re not stuck with one font either. If you can type it on an device, you can cut it out of construction paper.

2. Mothers Day Gifts – Think about the huge ramp-up in production value that the average elementary school class could do when it comes to personalized gift crafting. Goodbye paper plate bouquets and hello personalized wooden votive candle holders.

3. Awards and Trophies – Athletic departments and honor societies spend huge amounts of their budgets on trophies, plaques, and awards. Think about the amount of money that could be saved if schools just bought the raw materials and engraved all of their own awards. What if a school created a class where kids designed and created all of the awards? A teacher may have to do final names but 90% of the work could be student driven and done at a fraction of the dough Ned at the trophy shop is charging.

4. Inventory Engraving – Speaking of engraving…instead of a jittery hand with an engraving pen or a sticker that is easily removed, schools could engrave items like laptops and iPads with attractive, permanent identifiers. Check out what Glowforge designers have done with a Macbook.

 

5. Staff ID Badges – Get creative and save money by creating personalized staff or visitor badges by cutting and engraving them from your choice of materials.

6. Pro-Style Locker Labels – If you have ever seen an interview from a professional or big-time college sports locker room then you’ve seen the fancy headers above each locker sporting the athlete’s name, number, and team logo. With some creativity and cheap 1″x2″ lumber, a school could give its athletes the pro treatment.

7. School Spirit Items – Lots of schools sell items as fundraisers and to boost school spirit. Instead of eating up profits by going to one of the national suppliers, schools could begin buying blank stock items and doing the engraving and laser cutting themselves with a Glowforge. You can’t screen print with it but you can create some amazing luggage tags, pendants, and other personalized signage that can generate spirit, pride, and revenue.

8. Etsy Class – Think of all of the economics and entrepreneurship that can be experienced when students begin to design, create, and market products with a Glowforge. With sites like Etsy and Mercari as global marketplaces, individual students may begin to peddle their wares  to the far reaches of the Internet. It sure beats 180 days of PowerPoint lectures and worksheets.

9. Trick Out Your Office Space – With every Glowforge purchase comes access to the members’ catalog that features projects ready to print and assembly. This iPhone stand is one example of the cool stuff that staff can create for themselves and add a high end, start-up, feel to the workplace. There are a ton of neat items like this available. Glowforge features a similar computer stand in many of its promotional materials that was cut as flat pieces and then glued together.

10. Hands-on Classroom Products – Instead of buying any of these items, just create your own.

•Wooden or Acrylic Cut-out Letters and Numbers for the early elementary classroom

•Wooden or Acrylic Cut-out Shapes or other math manipulates that can be used K-12

•3D Geometrical Shapes that can be cut from all kinds of materials from cardboard to plastics

•United States or World Puzzles cut from plywood or plastic. Team with the art teacher and have kids paint and label each state or country.

•3D Models of Landmarks can be elaborately created by cutting flat slices and assembling a bunch of pieces like this Space Needle or just cut and engrave a 2D image on piece of wood thick enough to stand up on its own or with a small additional brace.

Like I said, I haven’t been more excited about a piece of technology in a long time. It can turn all kinds of creative dreams into reality but it has nearly infinite potential to impact how we do things and what we can create in our schools.

Get an Insiders’ Look at the the S.T.E.A.M. behind Madden NFL

Join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins for an all-access pass inside EA SPORTS

Discovery Education, EA SPORTS, and the NFLPA have joined forces to give your middle school students an insider’s view of EA TIBURON (where the magic of Madden NFL is created). Join the EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers team to see S.T.E.A.M. in action: we’ll meet the animators, producers, engineers, and designers who create some of the world’s coolest games. You’ll even get to see one student experience the motion capture process, with a special surprise result!

Good for athletes and mathletes alike, #MagicOfMaddenVFT is your chance to join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins as we travel beyond the classroom walls and into the game!

April 14, 1:00 PM EST

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Ask the Coach
Don’t forget to submit your students’ questions ahead of time and Kirk Cousins or EA SPORTS may answer them during the live event. Questions can be submitted HERE.

Prep the Team
Before the virtual field trip, explore a variety of educator resources at EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers, including an educational interactive developed for grades 5-9.

Be sure to share why you’re excited using #MagicOfMaddenVFT!
reposted from Discovery Education

It’s “Madden For the Classroom” Eve! Sneak Peak of Tomorrow’s Launch

It’s one day away! Tomorrow Madden, Discovery Education, and the NFL Players Association launch their “EA Sports Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers” interactive site to promote math and science in the classroom through football.2015-11-24_17-07-03

Brandon Wislocki and I share our experience of getting to preview the site and the simulations. We talk ease of use and some of the key features of the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as we preview some of the core math and science skills being explored.

The Discovery Education blog posted its own previews with a couple of screen shots.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the official launch URL.

DiscoveringFarmland.com: 7 Tools For Teaching Where That Thanksgiving Feast Came From

As a huge chunk of our population sits down tomorrow and eats way too much, how many will think of the hours, dollars, sweat, and luck that went into producing the bounty in front of them? Probably not many.

Discovery Education and the United State Farmers and Ranchers Alliance have teamed up to help change that through a number of teaching and learning resources at DiscoveringFarmland.com.

Through video and print resources, the site is broken into four lessons (45-60 minutes each) that explore a wide array of farming and ranching topics that are important to not only the sustainability of the industry but also our food supply and the cultural heritage of farming and ranching that has been a part of America since its first settlers.

You might also really strike a chord with one or many of your students who are already passionate about farming or ranching like my former student and Hamilton (MI) Middle Schooler Nate Freyhof, “What got me interested in hobby farming was having a good environment and having fun playing outside instead of sitting inside all day. I also think gardening and training or working with animals is fun to do. It is sometimes good to have technology around like tractors to pull a plow or dig up something.”

Steve Dembo recently detailed on the Discovery Education Blog some of the resources available and that the project is based around the award winning documentary Farmland by James Mol.

Here are 7 great things about teaching with the Discovering Farmland site.

  1. The videos and the lessons really put a human face on farming and ranching. This is done visually but one whole lesson focuses untangling stereotypes.
  2. The four lessons fit nicely into a variety of units. Teachers can spread it out to where they spend an hour per week on top of their prescribed curriculum. Think of it like Google 20% time where you step away from “what has to get done” for a little bit to supplement with projects based on interest or that might be especially impactful. Teachers could do two lessons a week and be done in two weeks or maybe full week is dedicated to a deep dive through the entire set of lessons.
  3. Resources provided make these units ready to roll out, even if the teacher knows nothing about farming or ranching.
    • Teacher guide for each lesson
    • Student activity sheet for each lesson
    • Formative assessment exit ticket or activity for each lesson
    • Video snippets of the Farmland movie to support each lesson
    • Web links to extend the research and learning for each lesson
  4. All lessons are vocabulary rich with words that fit into science, social studies, and technology.
  5. Even though each lesson is well designed, each can be modified to meet more personal or curricular needs. For example, an economics class could research where its county ranks in terms of agricultural production or what the taxable value is on a 40 acre plot of farmland.
  6. Discovering Farmland transports students who may have never left their own urban city limits to a completely unknown and almost foreign seeming part of our world. The virtual visit is one of the truly transformative things educational technology can do and this site and resources are perfect for creating those learning opportunities.
  7. There are great resources already in place but there is still more to come from Discovery and the USRFA. Both are committed to showing not only how important our agricultural heritage is but how there are exciting high-tech careers to be had in farming and ranching. There is no food without farming and there is no farming without great science, technology, engineering, and math skills.

Somebody somewhere grew the potatoes, the turkeys, the cranberries, even the cinnamon for the apples sauce we will be feasting on tomorrow. Why not use the resources in Discovering Farmland when you return to the classroom and challenge your students to find out more about who and where our food comes from?

 

Makey Makey Just Got Easier With Makey Makey Go

Image result for makey makey goIt is not like inventing with the original Makey Makey was extremely hard to begin with, but things just got more simple and more mobile with the “Go” version.

Makey Makey Go will begin shipping in December and is the size of a thumb drive making it totally mobile and less likely to get you taken “behind the curtain” by TSA when on the way to some nerdfest you’re carrying kits with lots of wires, panels, and alligator clips through airports (I know a lady who experienced this.).

What exactly is the “Go”? Well, this video can explain and describe it way better than I can.