Where we share about and care about STEM class projects
Using abcya! Animate to help 2nd graders create .gif files about spring
Hands down, cartoons are just plain fun. But what isn't seen, is the painstaking work of animation behind each frame. Animators and graphic designers alike spend countless hours crafting each movement and giving it their artistic and technical touch. Now, with the help of a free, web-based application, even young students can bring their own mini-animations to life!
My second graders began by visiting the website for abcya! Animate. We discussed that a .gif, or Graphic Interface Format, is a file that is made up of many pictures that play together like a movie or cartoon...think of a mini-flipbook scrawled on the pages of a post it notepad. We watched the tutorial together and discussed the concept of each individual frame showing a bit of movement, so that when the frames are played simultaneously, there is animation. After showing them how the simple tools work, the students set off exploring, problem-solving, learning work-arounds for the sometimes glitchy nature of the application, and, in the end, created some great first time gifs!
During the next class, their assignment was to show something growing during springtime. Here are a couple that came together quite nicely!
Gravity, Friction, Force, Momentum, Angles...it's all built in!
Who would have thought that the #1 app of all time would have such amazing concepts of physical science in it and be a source of science content for the classroom? Well, in 4th grade STEM at Woodland and Frank Elementary, we are about to get bird-brained!
This week, we are introducing the game in the virtual world while I try to play the game terribly in front of the students (I really am bad at the game). They are then giving me their expert advice. As they do, we will begin to make a list of the scientific vocabulary and taking words like launch and force and going deeper with words like angle of trajectory and potential/kinetic energy.
The next class, they will design and build a piggy tower and a bird-launching catapult to put the game's physics to the real-world test! Click the link below for a Google Doc with design constraints for our challenge. Give this a try! Your students will LOVE it!
Using block programming and other sites to sttttretcchhh beyond their abilities!
Earlier today, the 5th graders were given some choice to use websites that encouraged them to problem solve and think critically. The goal was to try one of the websites below and not give up! They did an amazing job. One student created his own flappy bird game. Give it a try here: Ryan's Flappy Game
Here is another.
And here are the websites they tried...click to try them with your students!
Exploring motion and physics in 2nd grade
The 2nd graders were charged with the task of using Keva planks to transport a ping pong ball.
Here were their criteria they had to meet, along with some design constraints:
It was incredible to see young minds at work! At first they realized that they needed to build an inclined plane or ramp in order to get the ball moving toward its goal. One student observed, "I guess since we can't push the ball, we have to ramp it home!"
2nd grade groups who solved the problem quickly were then asked to make the ball change direction on its way to the container and to make the track longer. This provided some extra challenge and it was amazing to see tracks that did u-turns and slaloms to get the ping pong ball home. Here is a quick video that shows some of the action!
"Run, Run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
Well, he thought he was fast enough, but our Kindergarteners have outsmarted him with their trap designs. After reading the story, they joined creative forces with teammates and built traps to catch our beloved cookie guy. The materials used were: Keva planks, Legos, and interlocking cubes. Some of the results can be seen below. What do you think?