This adorable Kindergarten weather report has been making its way around social media. Caden Corts’ video producer father may have given him some help with the green screen work, but this kid is a natural in front of the camera!
If you have ever seen a music video by “OK Go,” then you cannot fail to be in awe of the band’s incredible creativity. In every production, you can tell that they spent a lot of time on brainstorming, working hard, and having fun. Even more notable, though, is how much math and science must be used to create these complex feats of artistic expression.
In cooperation with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas (seriously wish this had been a thing at my university!), OK Go has designed a new website, the OK Go Sandbox, that provides resources for educators to use with students for STEAM activities based on a few of their music videos.
Each of the music videos currently featured on the site has a link to educational materials that include free downloads, challenges for the students, additional videos, and suggested activities. From making flipbooks to experimenting with sounds made by different “found” instruments, this resource explores the astonishing potential of merging science with art. Some of the challenges can be used with the Google Science Journal (a free app available for both Android and iOS).
It looks like this is a dynamic project that is encouraging advice from educators, so be sure to visit this page for more information on how to get involved.
Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, knows something about activism. You can watch this RSA Animated Short in which she speaks about the importance of trying to make a difference.
Whether you agree with the students who join in the National Walkout today or not, I think that we should take heart that they are moved enough to choose do something rather than nothing. Often accused of being self-centered and apathetic, these young people will be working to make their voices heard.
You may recognize Brad Montague (@thebradmontague) as the creator of the outstanding Kid President videos. But his creativity and compassionate work with kids does not stop there. He and his wife have begun a “Joyful Rebellion” with the Montague Workshop. What began as a series of videos has evolved into 8 resources for teachers that include the Montague Workshop videos, lesson plans, and activities written by teachers. As the website declares, “Our aim is to be the Alfred to your Batman.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a Joyful Rebellion is exactly what we need right now!
February 18-24th is National Engineers Week here in the States. Since my 2nd graders have been studying bridges, we did an activity from the Building Big website, which is still one of my favorite resources when we talk basics about man-made structures. Yesterday’s activity was one I had never tried with a class before, the Suspension Bridge activity. Despite prepping everything ahead of time, I went through my normal roller coaster of emotions during the lesson.
Fortunately, all groups eventually got their bridges built, and they were fascinated with the weight the suspension bridges could carry compared to the beam bridges. I would definitely do this activity again for the wow factor!
For more resources to teach your students about engineering, you can head on over to Discovere.org. I’ve also embedded an awesome video from the National Science Foundation called, “What is Engineering?”
This is a sweet video from FableVision that tells the story of two friends who choose different career paths based on their personalities rather than what culture dictates they “should do.” The message that you can be happy and successful in more than one way is one that I hope that I communicate to my own students and child.
For more inspirational videos, check out this Pinterest Board.
In that creepy way that Amazon has of knowing all about you, it recommended Mockups to me when I was searching for another brainstorming game someone had recommended on Twitter. The original game was not available, so I thought I would give Mockups a try instead.
Mockups is a good game to practice Design Thinking. It includes cards of three different colors. Pick a card of each color, and you suddenly have a Design Thinking Challenge. A white card tells you the person you are designing for, the gray card tells you what to design, and the black card will give you a constraint for that design.
As an example, I just randomly selected: Adventurous Preschoolers, A Way to Keep Their Hands Warm, Absorbent. There are suggested “games” to play using the card, such as giving the challenge to teams to come up with the best answer or making groups work silently on creating a solution. Of course, you can use the cards however you want.
This can be a fun way to encourage creativity, and students can learn empathy and new vocabulary as they design. The suggested ages, according to Amazon, are 6+. I took out the card, “bartenders,” but didn’t see any others that were objectionable.
For some other Makerspace challenge ideas, check out this recent post.