Category Archives: Games

Sugar, Sugar

I’ve made the unilateral decision to declare Fridays a day for fun and games on the Engage Their Minds blog.  This week, I present to you the infuriatingly addictive web-based game, “Sugar, Sugar“.  Brought to us by the Logic section of Math Playground, “Sugar, Sugar” is a deceptively simple puzzle that gets difficult quickly.  Your object is to direct the cascading sugar granules into various receptacles – the instructions becoming more complicated with each level.  To direct the sugar, you use your mouse to draw lines on the screen.  That’s it.   Oh, and don’t monopolize the computer – your kids should have a chance to play this, too!

Guess what – “Sugar, Sugar” will work on your iPad, too, if you use the Rover app as your browser!

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

photo credit: ETPA via photo pin cc
Ever since I saw a presentation on Augmented Reality at TCEA this year, I have been pumped about using it in my classroom.  However, I haven’t seen a lot of user-friendly applications for every-day teachers yet.  I tried desperately to get AR Sights to work on my Mac at home and on my PC at school, and neither experience lived up to my expectations.  I purchased an AR pop-up book, and though the kids seemed to enjoy it, I did not really feel like it had the impact I desired.
Richard Byrne posted about a new app from PBS called, Fetch! Lunch Rush!, and I suddenly saw the power of AR, and how I could use it in my classroom.  Although this particular game is too basic to use in the Gifted classroom, I can definitely see how activities like this would engage kids.
So, I did a search on Richard’s blog for other mentions of AR, and found a free app called Aurasma.  And, now I can make my own augmented reality layers that will appear whenever my students use the iPad camera on images I select.  My students, too, with a little guidance, can create their own.  Instead of using QR codes, I can make an Interactive Bulletin Board on steroids!
Check out these videos for some live demonstrations of Aurasma:  Aurasma in the Classroom (embedded below), Aurasma for Shakespeare
This would be a really interesting assistive technology for students.  Imagine having images on the pages that students can scan for help with the text, just as the hostess of Aurasma for Shakespeare demonstrates.  This falls nicely into Universal Design for Learning.
I would love to hear from anyone else who is using Aurasma in the classroom!

Aurasma in the classroom from mark herring on Vimeo.

Creativity Games


Creativity Games is a site that offers a weekly creativity game every Monday.  There are also weekly challenges and resources offered.  Although it seems to be aimed at an adult audience, I believe many of the ideas could be used with younger students as well.  For example, I love the “New World Education Game” that was offered on August 20th.  It challenges you to think of a new university course using the 4 words provided.  As the “Strategy” paragraph states, our students are entering a new world with different technologies, and we need to come up with novel ideas for preparing them for this.  I could see my gifted and talented students loving this idea, and many of the other activities on Creativity Games.  This is a great tool for educators.

KB…Konnected Kids

One of my favorite sites to visit to find out about new resources is KB… Konnected.  The author, Karen Bolotin, has another site that is designed to enrich “students who finish early” – KB…Konnected Kids.  This site has a wide range of interesting categories, such as “Build It!” and “Make it Move!”  I haven’t had a chance to explore the many links, but I did end up discovering another site through the “Games” button that I know I will be sharing with my Gifted and Talented students.  It’s a site called “Smart Kit”, which touts itself as “School-Safe Games and Puzzles”.  It has many cute logic games on it that I know my students will enjoy.  I want to thank Karen Bolotin, as well as the team behind Smart Kit, for providing some great educational links for our kids.

Dinner, Not Art

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Dinner, Not Art is both a website and a free iPad app.  It’s delightfully silly, but also encourages creativity and charity.  Every noodle that is used in the virtual art will result in 10 noodles being donated to the charity Feeding America by Kraft until the end of this year.  This is similar to the concept found at FreeRice.

Be sure to watch the short video on the website to learn about the reasoning behind the creation of this app.

In the app, the user can choose the shape of the macaroni noodles as well as the color to paint them.  You can place them however you like and even change their size.  You can also draw things on the rest of the page.  Once you are finished, you can “glue” your pieces to the paper, and hang your art on a virtual refrigerator.

Kids young and old would enjoy this app.  To deepen the conversation, students could do some research on Feeding America or some math to figure out the amount of macaroni art that needs to be done to create a real meal.  Maybe they could research other companies that have offered deals like this and find out “what’s in it for them”.

H/T to Cool Site of the Day for bringing this app to my attention!


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I thought I would post about something light, but fun, today.  Recently, in Parade Magazine, there has been a new feature by Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champion.  It’s a puzzle called “Kennections“, and it is pretty challenging.  “Kennections” gives you 5 trivia questions.  To solve the puzzle, you must answer the trivia questions and figure out what the answers all have in common.  If you don’t receive Parade Magazine, you can go to “Kennections” online for the latest puzzle, as well as the archives.

The puzzles are probably too hard for elementary students, but older kids might enjoy doing some research to find the solutions.  Another fun idea is to have kids create their own puzzles using this framework.  The “Kennections” site is asking for people to submit their own, but it does require an e-mail address.  I think it would be fun just to do within the classroom, or to exchange puzzles with pen pals or e-pals.  This would be a great challenge, particularly for the higher level students in your class.