The Kuriositas blog recently featured, “Atomic,” a short video created by students at Columbus College of Art and Design. The students were tasked with creating animations of some of the elements on the periodic table, and this video is a compilation of some of the best. Learning about the elements and their symbols would have been vastly more entertaining when I was in high school if I had been given a similar assignment! In fact, there are a few elements in the video that I would swear I never heard of (dysprosium?), but now I will never forget them.
You not only get to see each element, but demonstrations of them in action, such as the video of a hydrogen balloon exploding when exposed to heat.
Many of these are not demonstrations that could easily be done in a typical school science lab, so the videos are a good supplement to a hands-on curriculum.
Even if you do not have the elements in your scope and sequence, you may want to keep this site in mind for students who show an affinity or curiosity for science. It would be a great resource for independent research or Genius Hour projects.
You may remember a post I did earlier this year on the Elements 4D Cubes by Daqri. These augmented reality cubes, which you can print on paper (I would recommend cardstock) for free, are an awesome way to learn about the Periodic Table. And, yes, the app that brings these cubes to life is free, too!
Several teachers, including me, were asked to create some lesson plans to use with the cubes. (Full disclosure – we received compensation for this.) Daqri just released the plans last week. And guess what! Yep, the lessons are free to download! I’m talking Science Standards, printable worksheets, video links, and games. ALL FREE!
Once you start playing (and learning) with these cubes, you are probably going to wish you had a more durable set – like the wooden ones Daqri originally offered on Kickstarter. You can sign up on this page to let them know that you would like to be notified when the new ones are available for purchase. (Okay, so that’s not free, exactly, but it doesn’t cost anything to sign up – so that’s practically free, right?)
Feel inclined to create your own augmented reality content using the Daqri 4D Studio? You can sign up and get fabulous tutorials here. Totally free! (See? Back to the free stuff again.)
As you can tell, I’m a bit pumped about this. Thanks to Drew Minock and Brad Waid, the Daqri 4D Evangelists who made all of this possible, as well as all of the teachers involved in the various plans! This is a great resource for teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and anyone else with curiosity and an interest in science.
If you want some more augmented reality resources, check out this page on my blog with activities, lesson plans, and recommended apps.
This isn’t a new resource. Drew Minock and Brad Waid (Congrats again, Brad, on getting on this year’s 20 to Watch List!) have mentioned the Elements 4D Cubes several times on their website as well as on their weekly show, Two Guys and Some iPads. I thought the cubes looked pretty cool, but didn’t really see a use for them in my classroom at the time. Also, I missed out on the Kickstarter campaign for the wooden cubes, and figured I would be out of luck unless Daqri started selling them.
The wooden Elements 4D Cubes are still not available to the general public. (I tweeted them last night, and they responded that they are planning to make them available for sale in the near future.) And I still don’t really have a use for them in my current curriculum. But I sense a Genius Hour project may be planned in the immediate future – because my daughter and I have been having a blast with the free paper version of the cubes for the last two days.
My daughter came home from school the other day and mentioned that they had begun studying the elements in her science class, and that she had to do a report on Chlorine. She chuckled at the coincidence (she is a synchronized swimmer who spends a lot of time washing chlorine out of her hair), but didn’t sound too excited about the project. We were busy that evening, but I had a fleeting memory that someone had mentioned something about the paper version of the Elements 4D Cubes, and I decided, before school the next morning, to give them a try. At 6:45 A.M., I cut out 2 cubes, glued them together, and downloaded the free app. My daughter, who had just woken up, got a demonstration at the breakfast table. My performance was not well-received – probably largely due to the fact that she is not a morning person.
After school, she came home and started playing with the cubes and the app. The next thing I knew, she was busy cutting out the rest of the cubes. As I sat in our home office trying to think of a post to write, I could hear her Facetiming her friend so she could show her the app. When that call was done, she gathered all of the cubes to bring to the office to show me all of the elements she was discovering, and the fascinating combinations that could be made. Suddenly, Chlorine is an incredibly interesting element. My daughter had no idea that it is a gas in its natural state (as the cube clearly shows), or that it combined with Sodium to make salt. Every new discovery she made with the cubes was exciting. We took a lot of iPad screen shots. I encourage you to try it out for yourself. Download the free iPad app, print off the free cubes (I highly recommend printing them on card stock if possible), and spend a bit of time cutting and pasting so you can give yourself hours of fun.
(For more Augmented Reality Resources, check out my page of apps and activities here. Also, you might be interested in Daqri’s Enchantium app, which Drew Minock reviewed here.)