Friday, November 16, 2012

The Perot, Notability, and Photobucket or Haiku Deck

Today I found out my field trip was approved - which isn't an easy task in a school of over 3,000 students!  My classes will be visiting the Perot Museum of Science in January to find motivation and inspiration to create our Science Night at the Museum (listed below).  The best thing about the Perot is the hands-on nature of the exhibits.  I can't imagine a more interactive experience for my students.

So how does the iPad fit into this?  Well, we are taking the iPads with us. It definitely makes me a little nervous sending them out, but that is why we have them, right??  The groups will be challenged to find a few exhibits that most impress them and photograph them.  The photographs will be uploaded to our class Photobucket account and students will briefly describe how they see they could use that style of exhibit when developing our Science Night.  The photobucket account will be shared with all students to use during their planning of our project so that they can get ideas from each other and see parts of the museum they may have missed.  I also thought about having each group put their pictures in Haiku Deck and present to class when we return, but they wouldn't see students from other classes.  Still tossing that one around.

They will also take notes in Notability and  upload to Google Docs to share with their team.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


So according to the state of Texas, it is very important for anatomy students to understand the physiology behind nerve contractions.  While I can completely geek out about sodium potassium pumps and action potentials, my students shockingly could care less.  Each year this is my favorite and least favorite topic to try to get across.  So maybe we will try a more hands on approach...

Using the MyCreate app that I learned about at the iPad Summit, my kids created a brief stop motion that demonstrates an action potential being sent down the axon of a nerve.  My list of supplies:  leftover Halloween candy!  This week I offered to 'buy back' students Halloween candy. (I borrowed the idea of a Halloween candy buy-back from our local pediatric dentist, Dr. Rozas).  

By doing this activity, students had to build a nerve, understand the basic steps of nerve impulse, and understand basic functioning of the neuron.  Thats at least 4 of my objectives for this topic!  The MyCreate app allows them to take pictures and create a stop motion video with a voice over. 

This activity was completed in two 50 minute class periods.  The first day was for practicing and planning and the second day for pictures and voices.  A few groups used a little time the third day to finish.  They had no prior knowledge of nerve structure or function and self taught the majority of this.  

Overall, I am happy with the outcome.  I feel as if I had given them more time, their product would be a little more professional, but this was just an introductory assignment.  We are using shared iPads in my classroom so they only could work on it in my room.  I do feel that they learned neuron structure and function much more than I expected.

Our only suggestions for the app would be an undo button and the ability to maximize the bottom screen so its easier to reorganize pictures if necessary.  

Here are a couple of examples.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching with VoiceThread

Anatomy students were matched up with a first grade classroom within our district.  The first graders Skyped with our class one day and discussed their hypothesis for what they believed was good and bad for their bones (a unit they were studying).  My anatomy students agreed to research and test their hypothesis, being their scientist buddies.  We ran experiments over the next week using chicken bones and the foods the 1st graders suggested.  After a week, we had our first grade buddy class visit us and get results from their lab.  They measured mass, volume, circumference, and force required to break the bone.  Force measurement was taken with a probe and connected to the iPad so they could see the results. 

After the students left, anatomy students created a VoiceThread to teach the 1st graders why they obtained the results.  The best voicethreads were sent back to our first grade buddy class.  Here are a couple of examples of what we sent back to the first graders after their visit.  

Science Night at the Museum

Student Challenge:  Develop an interactive booth that is geared towards elementary aged students that will get them excited about science.  Develop a booth that is both interactive and hands on and forces students to think, but still have fun.

Last year was the first year we had Science Night at the Museum.  All 125 of my anatomy students participated and we had over 500 elementary aged students from our community attend.  We were hoping for 100, so we well exceeded our hopes (and supplies!)  

Booths ranged from small dissections to interactive apps that tested vision, hearing, depth perception, etc.  Some booths had students predict what would happen and then try it out.  Other booths showed students the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  We used iPads, iPod Touch, MacBooks, Digital microscopes, Pasco probeware, and many other devices to grasp the attention of our young audience.  

This year to increase involvement, Anatomy students created an iMovie trailer to promote the event.  Each group will presented their trailer and we voted on the best of the best.  The winning trailer was sent out to each elementary school in our district to be shown on the student news channel. The video was also shared by our districts on twitter and facebook.

Collaborative Work Spaces

Creating a collaborative work environment has been on my wish list for years.  Finally this year, my grant request was approved!!  I was allowed to design my classroom in anyway I chose.  Out with the terrible desks all lined up in little rows.  Thankfully my district is incredibly supportive of my crazy ideas to teach without walls or restrictions.  My next wish list items will be to teach without being governed by bells or times restraints.  We will see how that goes :)

Nearpod Case Studies

Thanks to the University of Buffalo Science Case Study, I frequently will find a case study to introduce a new unit of study in Anatomy.  The website contains a ton of cases easily searchable by subject, topic, grade level, etc.  A lot the cases are science, but there are also geography, math, and a few others. 

How I use these cases in a 1:1 classroom - NEARPOD! 

I use nearpod to create an interactive presentation that presents the case in a part by part method.  I only give them a portion of the case at a time and often stop to perform an inquiry type lab for them to gain more information about their patient.  Putting the students in the position of doctor increase their motivation to learn - everyone wants to be the one to correctly diagnose and treat their patient.  

Within the nearpod presentation, we label diagrams, take polls, answer quiz questions, and diagnose the patient.  Student iPad screens can be projected onto the smartboard at various times throughout the case to prompt questioning and discussion.