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.