Music and Media Toy Factory

Toy Factory is a project where the boys create prototypes of toys that play music. They will eventually product test each toy with boys in their demographic. The toys range from potty training, to pocket dubstep machines, to snowboards that all have some type of musical component. This video shows the design phase, along with the test phase for some of the toys that are being built.

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5th Grade Science Students Adapting Birds

Fifth grade science students are in the midst of considering “What makes birds survive?” One option boys can elect to explore is a Total Bird Redesign. In this option, boys select a Fessenden feeder bird and relocate it to an area with a more extreme climate and geography.  After researching the new location’s features, they redesign the bird with adaptations that will enable it to survive in its new location.  Boys are using TinkerCAD to create a 3D model of the new bird, which will then be printed and painted.  All phases of the project will be laid out in a Google presentation.

I’ve been interviewing boys like Henry and Will (see video above) about their ideas for adaptations, and have been impressed with how well they express their rationale, their understanding of the domino effect of one adaptation forcing another, and the physical representations they’re creating on TinkerCAD.   It’s awesome to watch the boys run through many iterations of their birds and ideas in a short period of time, most choosing to collaborate with a partner and pushing the speed at which they develop their ideas.  Stay tuned to see the finished products!

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RSS Class Explores Egypt via EdTech

RSS students explored Egyptian religion more in depth this past week, researching a god or goddess of their choice and using various EdTech options to create a product.  Students used a research template created in Google Docs to gather background information on their god/goddess.  They then chose from the following four product options:

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Click this image to read student stories.

    • Design a children’s story about an Egyptian god or goddess, completed via a Docs presentation (with words and pictures).

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    Click this image to play student games.

     Create an online game using Scratch that contains factual information about your Egyptian god and how he or she interacted with the other gods.

  • Make a commercial for your god and his/her product using GoAnimate.
  • Create a picture/trading card/sports card that portrays your god as a modern person.

    Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 9.25.13 AM

    Click here to view student cards.

    Use Google Draw to help you combine images into a cool picture.

Students presented their products and evaluated each other using this rubric.

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First Graders Inspired by Augmented Reality

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Things got lively in first grade this week as students got a first hand introduction to a technology known as augmented reality, which you have to see to believe.  If you’ve ever shopped for LEGOs at the large Toys R Us store in Manhattan, perhaps you held a LEGO kit in front of a screen that displayed how the finished model will look in 3D.  If so, you’ve been exposed to augmented reality.  Today, boys used iPads and an app called colAR Mix, to experiment with a flying dragon as part of their mythical creatures discussions.  Teacher Nicole Biondo explained the connection to their classroom work:  “During our study of Ancient Italy, the boys learn about mythical creatures.  They listen to stories about these creatures and discover why and how they are tied into Roman daily life.  As a class, one way we can expand our understanding is to recreate a mythical creature through mosaics.  However, before the boys do this, they will first use colAR Mix.  This app will provide fun inspiration that will foster conversations about one mythical creature and perhaps inspire the design some of their own mythical creatures as well.”

First boys colored their dragon drawing (printed from the colAR Mix app), and then listened to a brief introduction on how to hold the iPad for the image to appear.  This was the first time this app was used in the classroom and we discovered that some of the pictures would not engage the software to produce a 3-D image; but boys colored new dragons and everyone gained success.

When we ended the activity, we sorted the pictures into ones that worked and ones that didn’t.  As Nicole has time, the boys are going to examine the different images to see if they can discover the difference between those that worked and those that didn’t.  They will look for patterns and develop hypotheses to test with the app during their free time.  Check back for their recommendations on how to color the drawings so that they will be successful with the colAR Mix app!

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Fresh Breath and a Fully Charged Phone!

Fresh Breath and a Fully Charged Phone!

Charlie J. has created a mobile phone charger out of an Altoids can. Why? Because he could! 🙂

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21st Century Skills in Action – in 5th Grade Science, Bird is the Word

This is a screenshot of the Fessy Birds website home page.

This is a screenshot of the Fessy Birds website home page.

Mr. Banister’s Science classes began their bird unit by learning what every solid ornithologist should; how to identify birds via their unique characteristics.  The flipped classroom format meant that specifics memorization took place at home, leaving students valuable time in class to collaborate in the creation of the Fessenden School Feeder Birds site.

One of the QR codes found at bird observation sites around campus. Yes, that is a female northern cardinal silhouette embedded in its QR code. Scan it and see more!

One of the QR codes found at bird observation sites around campus. Yes, that is a female northern cardinal silhouette embedded in its QR code. Scan it and see more!

Each small group of boys researched a bird typically found at campus feeders, and designed a web page within a class Google Site that could be used to help other ornithologists identify it.  Boys also defended their format and content choices in a presentation.  Several boys have opted to develop additional pages for other campus birds, such as the red-tailed hawk, on their own time, to help make the site more robust.

Each student-developed page is linked to a QR code.  These QR codes can now be found at various feeder observation points around campus.  Certain feeders attract specific birds, so the boys’ bird counts have determined where each QR code is placed.   Visitors can learn more about each of these birds by scanning its QR code.  These pages will be updated over time to reflect current bird counts and related class projects.

Rohil is ready to take some bird counts!

Rohil is ready to take some bird counts!

Stay tuned as boys begin the next phase of the bird unit, the study of adaptations.  There is more fantastic project-based learning in the works in 5th grade Science!

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It’s Alive!!

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