Thursday, May 14, 2015

123D Circuits - Collaboration Cool Tool

Let's examine the following middle school science standard:

7.P.2.3:  Recognize that energy can be transferred from one system to another when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance (work) and electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.

Without purchasing circuit boards, supplies, or the awesome and fun Arduino Board Kits, check out the following website:

I like to refer to this site as a "Circuit Building Playground."

Have students click "Sign In" and they should choose to "Sign in with Google."
This way, they do not have to create any new user names or passwords.

Check out the following tutorial clips below, or access my entire tutorial on Youtube:


I bet you are wondering how this is a collaboration tool...

Watch this clip and get ready because your students will love this!

Now, for some tasks...

1.  Have your students create a basic circuit.  Remember, one of the most important lessons with regard to circuit building is to learn the coding, which goes along with it.  This will allow your students to become equipped with fundamental knowledge for any job in engineering or programming.

For more examples of tasks and coding exercises for your students, please explore the link below.

How your students will share out...


For even more fun ideas and tutorials, please subscribe to Paul McWhorter's Youtube Channel.
Here are the video links for LESSON ONE
                                             LESSON TWO
                                             LESSON THREE
                                             LESSON FOUR
                                             LESSON FIVE

There are a total of 28 lessons.

**  You don't need to download any extra programs or software unless you are working with an actual Arduino Board.  You may use the 123D Circuits Website to practice all examples. 

If you are interested in purchasing real "Arduino Kits," here is a link for a less expensive model to fit your educational budget:  UNO Board LINK


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Digital Learning Showcase

MCS Digital Learning Showcase

You don't have to look far in our district to see some great things happening in the way of digital learning.  Our students are learning in ways they had not previously been able to thanks to our digital learning initiative.  This was very apparent last week at our Digital Learning Showcase hosted by Union Pines High School.

The evening kicked off with some very talented learners in grades 1, 2, and 5 explaining how their learning has changed this year as a result of their digital learning pilot.  Students from five Moore County elementary schools were part of a pilot to help us determine what devices are best for student learning at those age groups.  With an extensive variety of apps and web tools available to students, it was interesting to see the projects they came up with.  Each grade level had a common project they had to complete and though they are similar, they are also very different.  You can check those out here.  The next day we discussed the pilot and the pros and cons of each device.  It looks like Chromebooks are the clear winner, thus continuing our Chromebooks in Education journey in Moore County Schools.  We are unsure at this time what the timeline for Elementary roll-out will be but we know there will be awesome things that happen when we get devices in the hands of these students.

Each middle and high school in our district was at hand that evening showcasing their digital learning.  It was truly the highlight of the year for Moore County Schools thus far.  Everyone in attendance really enjoyed themselves and it seemed that most were disappointed the night had to come to an end.  The students all represented their schools with class and were very knowledgeable of their devices and the tools they were showcasing.  

Hats off to our digital team and the fabulous classroom teachers for not being afraid to think outside the box and truly engaging our students and making learning relevant to the types of learners we have in our schools today.  

3D Modeling on Chromebooks Made Easy with Tinkercad

I've always been a huge fan of students creating 3D models on computers.  It is a skill that combines mathematics, art, and design in a way that promotes plenty of problem solving along the way.  Over the years I enjoyed watching students take off with this skill using Google Sketchup on PC's and MACs and ever since we rolled out Chromebooks I've been keeping an eye out for a rich, cloud-based 3D modeling tool.

The best one I've seen to date is Tinkercad.  Simple, intuitive, and fun to learn; Tinkercad is a tool that many students will latch onto quickly.

Completely cloud-based, this tool gives a lot of the flexibility I had grown accustomed to within Google Sketchup.  It allows students to start drawing from scratch, but also has a good number of premade 3D objects that students can use to play with dimension, space, grouping, coloring, etc.

Finally, we are in the process of pushing for more 3D printing capabilities in our district.  Great news about Tinkercad- it allows exporting to all of the major 3D modeling standards for easy printing.  And, as an added bonus, it allows the exporting to Minecraft-useable objects (how cool would it be for students to design their own 3D objects in school to import into their Minecraft worlds???).

I hope you give some kids time to tinker with Tinkercad on their Chromebooks- I promised you won't be disappointed in what some of them come up with!