Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kindergarten and PreK learn about circuits!

Pre-K and Kindergarten have been learning about circuits.  We introduced this lesson with some background on circuits from Brain Pop and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  They learned all the parts necessary to make the circuit and the difference between conductors and insulators.  We tested different things to see what made the best conductors.  The students rotated among stations where they got to build circuits (and problem solve when they didn't work!).  Once we felt like we were ready to make our own, we started the final project... the circuit cards.  For this activity we used copper tape, LED mini lights, and a lithium battery.  With Valentine's Day coming up soon, we decided to make them a card for someone special.  "You Light Up My Life" became our theme.  Here are some pictures of the whole process.

You can't see it, but they just made the circuit to launch a disc into the air!

They completed the circuit to make the light turn on.  Up next, the motor!

And now we have light!!

Snap circuits are fun!

PreK learns circuits, too!

Motors are fun!

They used the switch to make the circuit work.

They added art to circuits by decorating something to spin on the motor!

Spin art with circuits.

Some snap circuits are very complex.

This one was a challenge, but they got it to play "happy birthday"!

Final projects work!  "You Light Up My Life" just in time for Valentine's Day!

Our circuits work!

Circuit Valentine's Day cards!

Brightest Valentine's Day card yet!

She said that this is for her Daddy because his smile lights up her life.

He made this one for his cousins!

Even with a broken arm she can work a circuit!

Friday, February 6, 2015

PreK enters the digital world in STEAM class!

PreK has been busy lately learning about the technology in our classroom.  They participated in the #HourOfCode just like the rest of the school.  They are learning basic concepts of how to use the track pad; how to press ctrl, alt, delete successfully; how to capture, drag, and drop icons; how to open a web browser; and how to navigate to certain sites.  Next up will be using Word to create some publishing work and using Paint to further control of the track pad.  These skills might sound simple, but to children who are just mastering some of these fine motor skills they can be quite a challenge!  I'm so proud of their tenacity with this project!

Here are some photos of the process:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

When "oops" turns into a "win"

Some days your plans are perfect and the learning objectives are top notch.  The students enter ready for your challenges... it seems nothing can mess up the magic that is about to happen.  Then, "oops" happens!  My giant "oops" is that I somehow managed to lose the key to my laptop cart.  This is a major glitch in my impeccable plans to use them all day!  That cart sure is secure!  It took several adults, a drill, tenacity, and elbow grease to get them free a couple of days later.  In the meantime, I was going to have to figure something out.  What ended up happening was some "free choice" time for the students to work on other projects in the room.  What I learned is that when kids have some time to freely explore projects they enjoy, they tend to make magic happen.  It ended up being so much fun for all of us!  I captured some photos of what they did.  Plans are great, but sometimes mistakes end up with amazing results, too.

Tangrams with Osmo

They made a digital story with Toontastic.

They made a digital story with Toontastic and they made a digital book!

They are animating their story in Toontastic.

These boys built spinners and engaged a large group of spinning competition!  They built, tested, and improved each one to see what made them spin the best.  Super cool!