Pop Some Math

The lesson Plan for math that I had in mind was more or less helping students to memorize their multiplication tables. This lesson plan is built over the course of a few days.It begins first in making an attempt to evaluate what the student already knows and has previously memorized.  This includes their, 0’s,1’s,2’s,5’s,10’s,11’s. Once these tables have been taught through repetition and practice the next phase is implemented, the 3’s and 9’s time table using the different activities mentioned in the lesson plan. Drill all these problems into their heads and make it almost like second nature. The last step is to create a 5min. timed quiz for the students to test their knowledge, 100 problems. Next and final step would be tying everything together.

This is where my game would come into play. Instead of using the traditional method of a drill sheet why not make a game where the students can reinforce their multiplication skills and pop some balloons. I would explain the the children the concept of the game and have each student spin at least once. We would do a few as a class no paper or pencil.  I wasn’t able to create a mock up of the game because it included so many elements. I took a while to build and it wasn’t finished till the day of the arcade.

I changed the rules form have the students give me all the possible combinations for the number on the wheel to only ave to come up with one. The biggest feed back I got was ion the non-popping balloons. Some suggested I use something else entirely but most said just make the balloons bigger so they can pop. However, I realize were could not conduct this game in an actual classroom due to the use of sharp objects. But the point of the game is clear.

Creation with a Pop

I have to say I went through quite a few ideas in the creation of this game. I originally wanted to create a video game for English. I realized, very very early, that that was’nt going to be possible at all. Next I though of using the wack the mole game to teach multiplication but quickly realized that that was also something that I just wasn’t equip to build. Then when discussing it in class I had realized that maybe wacking wasn’t the only action I could use to make my game fun.

I though of something else that children love, balloons. What better way to teach the kids but by allowing the to destroy them, pop them. So I decided that instead of doing a typical drill where where a combination of numbers, from 1 through 12 are placed together through multiplication  and asking for he answer, why not give the player the answer and have them give me the multiplication problem. So started by listing all the possible multiplication answers from the 1 to 12 times table. Then I wote down all the possible multiplication answers for each number I listed.

Next it was time to make the wheel. I got a plate from the 99 cent store and counted all the numbers I needed to place on the wheel (59), the number was uneven so added another space to the wheel, you win. I then used post its to write the #’s on the plate

what came next was the board itself. I used a decent size box and took it apart. I used to top panel for the directions.

the Next two panels I cut out twelve holes and brought some number magnets that I pasted above each hole. Once that was done I cut out the conors of some smaller boxes and pased then to back of each hole. This little “cup” would hold the balloon. the last panel I used as a stand t hold the base of the board up. The last step was to blow up the balloons. I blew up 90 balloons, didn’t even use half but at least I was prepared. This was the final product.

 

 

 

Multi- Pop

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5_UmA7bLXCU[/youtube]

My game was 98% skill and 2% chance. It consisted of knowing your multiplication skills. Being able to use the numbers 1 through 12 to figure out what two numbers on the board, when multiplied, gives you the number they spun on the wheel. Also, because they only had 30 seconds to figure it out there was a element of speed that was implemented, another skill. However, there was a hint of chance in my game, if you spun the wheel and landed on you win he player would have received 10 tickets without even answering a question.

I think people responded well the the style of the game. They wanted to play and realized, quickly that it wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. Some of the kids were stuck on certain numbers and couldn’t come up with a combination.

My game was truly a showcase of knowledge game. It didn’t require students to learn much. However, in the end they would learn whether or not they really knew there required multiplication tables (1 through 12 table).

The mechanics of the game I feel were good. The mechanical areas of the game is what I would have changed. The board wasn’t very stable at all that was something I was most disappointed in. Another major issue I encountered was the fact that he balloons were not big enough to pop. This took most of the fun out of the game, I felt. I would have liked to work that out before the day we presented the games.The only rule I would have, and technically did change, was the one about popping ALL possible combinations. That rule I altered decided as long as the player gave me one they could win some tickets.

One of my favorite games was Find the Ace. I enjoyed that it was the complete opposite of my game, all chance. Iliked that it was a spn off of Deal or No Deal. The game was exciting, it gave suspense and was fun to play. However, out of all the games I played Physical Fitness Plinko was one that could have used a slight change. I loved the Plinko board and the way in which you won the tokens to play on the board but I didn’t like the structure of the rules at the beginning. For one the definitions written on the card needed to be more legible. Two, I feel each player should have received maybe 50 or 60 seconds to place the definitions in the right spot. Third the fact the the player was handed the definitions kind of slowed down a part of the game that as suppose to be speedy. Other than that the game was awesome!

I loved this class. My expectation was that it was going to be computer based with exams on how to operate programs and technical devices. I was happy to see the class was not like that at all. Having the class goal be an arcade game for students to play to help them learn was a fantastic idea. I feel it taught us, as teachers, to be open to the idea that chalk, notes and textbook readings aren’t always as effective in teaching as making learning fun. We have to add technology and it isn’t limited to computers technology can be anything, any tool, that isn’t text based.

My favorite assignment this class was the maker Research Assignment. I found MOOC’s to be so interesting. Learning how they worked, what their goal was originally and how that goal changed over time. I was interested in all the problems that contributed t the POSSIBLE demise of MOOC’s as a creditable way to earn a degree. I would change this class by NOT making it a winter course but rather a regular semester course. I think that would allow students to really create an amazing game that would not only be fun an learning oriented but one tht they could later implement in their own classroom.

Wack Some Math or Sentence Monkey

When we went to Chucky Cheese Monday to look for the game I had in mind for my final project. I had a game in mind, Wack-a-mole. This is the traditional game where the moles pop up and player must wack the moles over the head with the hammer. I didn’t really find that game but I did find something similar. I would say a little more 21st century-ish. It was called, Hammer Fun.

This game is simple enough. The player is given a picture of a specific type of mouse to hit. Then when the game starts the player must hit all those mice during that level. The mice appear on the screen and the player is given a hammer to hit the screen with. If you hit the right mole you gain points. If you hit the wrong mole you get no points. In order to get to the next level you must hit all the mice required. For example, level one has 35 mice you must hit in order to get to the next level. I would use this game as a math lesson.

I also saw another game, Super Monkey Ball. I didn’t play it but I did take some pics.

The player rolls the ball to direct the monkey on  the screen through the board. The player rolls that ball in the direction they want the monkey to turn. left, right or straight. If I had more time I would make this a English game for maybe 1st graders. I would have the child go through each level putting a sentence together.The monkey would pick up words on the board as they go. At the end of each board they would have to create a sentence that made sense. Each level would be harder, either requiring more words or more complex sentences.

 

 

The future and a new purpose on education

In today’s day and age education technology and its formal methods continue to grow and blossom into “the flipped classroom”. I have been researching several articles and videos about classrooms that are being flipped or teachers flipping their classrooms in order to have their students be more engaged in he curriculum. An article by   quoted from  Daphne Koller that

There’s a growing amount of content out there on the Web,” says Koller, “and so the value proposition for the university is no longer simply getting their content out there. Rather, it’s fostering that personal interaction between faculty and students and students and students.” By being able to take advantage of online educational content – particularly lecture content from some of the best professors at the most pretigious universities in the world – students will benefit too. It’ll mean that the university classroom can be “flipped” – with lectures pre-recorded and assigned as homework. Koller, who’s been flipping her classroom since well before Khan Academy popularized the term, says that universities have been reluctant to add “active learning” opportunities at expense of covering “the curriculum” via lecture. And thanks to the increasing wealth of online classes, there’ll be more opportunities for hands-on on-campus experiences.

In the 2011 TED Talk  with Salman Khan and his creation of Khan Academy on how using flipped classroom methods benefits the students from K-12 by having them approach the subject in an easier way and better enable them to grasp the subject without any difficulty. Over the years, educators across the country and the globe have started to incorporate the idea of flipping the classroom by having the students be more interested in the activity now and then homework and lecture from their computers at home. By flipping the classroom, students are using their ideas and experiences plus they get to use hands-on training as well, killing three birds with one stone. This has shown significant amount of both physical and educational proof that elementary students actually want and have a joy to learn more when fusing flipped classroom with the standard education curriculum just as in the 2011 Ted talk Salman Khan and Khan academy.

The flipped classroom

The image above shows what the idea(s) of being in or instructing a flipped classroom and by having the inversion, both the educator and the pupils benefit more in the educational curriculum as oppose to the regular or traditional methods of education. I as a future educator will definitely use this method and fuse it with my health education methods and I think that my future pupils will be active, interested, and engaged to learn more about it.

 

STEAM Powered Classrooms

Despite its reputation for being one of the most innovative countries in the world, it might be surprising to learn that the United States is not doing a good job at producing strong math and science students. This is a serious concern not just for educators, but all others who are invested in the future of the country, and its children. That means everyone from policy makers like President Obama, to high-tech companies who need the engineers and designers to create the next innovative product that will drive their business.

Which is why there is a national movement to get young students more interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) branches. There is the belief that by introducing children to the maker movement and the idea of making and being makers will do just that. And with constant budget cuts that kill art programs, bringing the maker movement to the classroom might just help remedy that problem as well.

One of president’s goals is to get more young girls and boys excited about what’s called STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math. And I believe that the maker movement, the maker culture is a really powerful way of doing that. Tom Kalil, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Making forces children to utilize all of their mental faculties from brainstorming, to planning and problem-solving. Turning an idea into something real and tangible is like an art. So if the maker movement found its way into classrooms it would generate interest in not just the sciences, but the arts as well, giving us STEAM powered classrooms.

Art or science? Probably a touch of both.

I didn’t know it, but I guess I was always a maker (when I wasn’t being a breaker). I used to make things with broken electronics, owned a electronics kit from RadioShack as a child, tried to start a comic book with a friend using linoleum prints, rewired and recycled an old Xbox controller into a PC controller. While making didn’t make me an artist or great at math, it did allow to to explore those worlds. As it turned out I did eventually become a science major, so maybe there is something to this maker-STEM connection.

Casey Shea certainly thinks so. It’s the reason why he’s converting one of the classrooms at Analy High into a makerspace. The author of the article (Maker Education Initiative Executive Director, AnnMarie Thomas) actually goes on to discuss the maker-STEM connection. Here she is actually demonstrating it:

A Closed Minded Teacher’s Open Mind

Me, wanting to be a Elementary school teacher, was inspired by the traditional structure of teaching. We are talking textbook readings, copying notes off the chalk board, multiple choice questions and tests on the context read in the textbook and taught in class. This approach is pretty standard but in some cases, such as science, this isn’t the most effective way to teach. I remembered plenty of times in school where we would occasionally do an actual experiment. Most of the time it was the same ones all the time, over and over again and they were structured in such a way that they were almost robotic, boring, not creative and for children at the ages of 6 to 10 this makes the point of the experiment ineffective due to the lose of the students attention and interest.

At first, I hated the idea of technology and computers in an Elementary school classroom. I felt this would take away from the standard skills that students need to learn for their academic career. However, in certain subjects I can see the benefit of hands on education. I had limited my feelings of technology to computers but through this research on STEM education, I have realized that certain subjects need a more hands on approach in order for a student to actually learn something.

In the blog called,Teachers Are Key to Building STEM Brand by.Ryan Lytle he expresses the idea that teacher need to embrase the idea of changing the way science, technology and music are taught. We, as teachers, are the root and foundation of this evolution in teaching. We must begin by opening our minds to new ideas. He says,

There is a universal fear among many teachers that STEM is a difficult set of topics to teach, she says, and starting conversations to alleviate these fears is vital to the future of STEM in the classroom.

To begin with this idea Mr. Lytle says we should talk to our peers about how to do this. Begin to work as a team. I feel that this video, with Physics and Chemistry teacher, Frank Noschese is a good beginning.

 

In the video the most important part to me is the beginning were he explains the “problem” he has with the way things are taught now. He describes the difference between the way scientists and students explore science. We see that the way students learn science isn’t very effective and it turns students off the idea of science. However, He then gives his own model for how he feels we can truly teach science in a way that is not only effective but fun, exciting and gets students motivated to learn more. This is what is the teachers most important goal in the end, don’t you think?

Making Makers

The “Maker” subculture is gaining momentum.  Makers are people of all ages who create and build beautiful projects such as robots, electronics, and arts and crafts.  The idea behind the maker movement is for people to learn by doing.  It is a hands-on approach to learning which fosters creativity and self-expression.  Each year a convention is held in New York, Detroit, and San Francisco’s Bay area called “The Maker Faire“.  The faire showcases projects from makers young and old from all around the country.

A boy looks at Super Mario Lamps during the Maker Faire in San Francisco.                                              (Picture courtesy of spotlight.macfound.org)

The Maker Faire was a huge success but that is not the only reason to be excited.  The faire’s founder, Dale Dougherty, has announced a new maker education initiative.  The program will expand hands-on learning and building experiences for children in schools and other learning environments.

“We believe making provides rich, authentic learning experiences,” Dougherty said. “Such experiences promote creativity and develop problem solving skills while helping to establish a lifelong interest in science and technology. Becoming a maker can be life-changing for a child.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlrB6npbwVQ[/youtube]

As a future K-12 educator I am pleased to see that there is a growing movement to incorporate hands-on building, creating, and learning in our schools.  Students must be able to express themselves not only with words but with physical pursuits.  I myself am a hands-on learner, so I appreciated the importance of getting dirt on your hands and creating something from scratch.  As Mr. Dougherty says, “We are makers”.  Humans are natural creators and it is time we get back to our roots and foster our natural abilities.