So after Exploring the Wonders of Weather through the DE Science TechBook with my Middle School Academy STEM kids, I took on a much younger and more energetic group of 3rd to 5th graders who were interested in Alternative Energy, during our week of College For Kids at UW Marshfield/Wood County. This mini STEM institute explored multiple energy sources and how they work ; A perfect topic for our group, since we ourselves could be considered an alternative energy source!
The students had 5 days to experience both traditional energy and alternative energy sources. Their week consisted of integrating the DE TechBook while using free web tools and iPad apps to express what they had learned.
The plan for our week included 3 general STEM experiences:
1. Exploring, Researching and Discussing traditional energy sources and the strains these sources place on our environment.
2. Exploring, Researching and Discussing alternative energy sources :
Solar, Wind, BioDeisel, Geothermic and HydroElectric.
3. Choosing one particular energy source to research, produce and publish understanding of their chosen sources of energy.
We spent the first day on fossil fuels, a topic students have background knowledge on, but were enlightened as to the process regarding how these resources came to be as we experienced the DE Techbook Interactive Glossary! The interactive glossary clarified significant differences between coal, oil and natural gas. This experience carried significant value in students’ understanding of how these different sources came to be in their own unique ways. Each child explored their own glossary of vocabulary, verbally sharing to each other which terms they were interacting with. I could hear them actually discussing the vocabulary and the meaning of the words because of the unique techbook animations, which engaged each learner far beyond what I see when my children “Study Vocabulary”
The second day, we engaged in the techbook interactive lessons. These experiences helped students understand the environmental impact their energy usage choices would make, experimenting multiple times with their “carbon footprint,” realizing the impact of the 3 fossil fuels, nuclear, and wind/ solar.
The third day, students were introduced to 2 Energy sources they have little knowledge of: Bio-Diesel and Geo-Thermal. Students were entertained by the DE Techbook video segments regarding these energy sources. Along with using the PCs for the techbook, my students interacted with video content on iPads regarding geothermal, which I formally discussed with all kids as well as their chosen energy source. After learning about how Geothermal works, students were asked to explain what they knew by using the iPads.
I used the DE App to have each student watch a short video segment on how geothermal energy works. After they had watched it twice, I instructed them to interact with the video while watching a third time by taking screenshots of what they thought would represent how they would explain geothermal themselves! Students created a PicCollage using representative photos and title, importing that photo into ShowMe. Students found a quiet corner to record what they understood Geothermal to be. This activity was important, as students were excited to use the technology, even though geothermal isn’t really that exciting of an energy source. I know these students grasped the important concepts regarding geothermic energy much more than if I had taught it in a more traditional manner. Having students publish what they know pushes the student to levels of analysis and metacognition, improving both understanding and retention. Listen to this 5th grader articulate what she understands- I could not have said it this well…
The Kids ended the third day by choosing any one of the energy sources to concentrate on for the remainder of the week. They were sent on their way, planning to safely explore the techbook resources with their parents regarding their energy choice.
The fourth day, students again used the iPads to collect pictures and watch one chosen video relative to their energy choice to again take screen shots. This time, students were shown how to create an Animoto on the iPad and used the remainder of the day to create their own energy animoto!
Thursday evening was crazy busy for me, as the kids got wind of the last STEM group enjoying Green Screening . They Begged to try Green Screening too, so I arranged all the necessary background pictures and inserted them into the Adobe Elements Premiere. I had originally planned for the kids to build a Glog, so all their work would be in one place BUT now that they expressed their desires, I built much of the Glog for them, uploading their various videos into GlogsterEDU. Luckily, I had 2 students who chose to arrive early on Friday morning, who learned how to edit and arrange much of the Glog.
Friday, the kids came in all excited, seeing the big bright green screen in the front of the room. But before going crazy with video, each student who wanted to be in the video had to write a summary of their energy source and practice saying their thoughts. Again, student understanding and metacognition was at a peak, as they listened and worked together. After 20 minutes, we started to videotape. The pressure was on! We only had time for one take! Then the kids watched as we imported the video and used the green screen effect. there was enough time to show the steps of the video editing, letting students click the green screen key for their segment. Excitement filled the room.
The Glog was complete! Kids could not wait to go home and show their parents all what they had learned, how they learned it and how they showed it!!
( It is too big to embed here successfully)
Each Day ended with excited kids jumping out the door expressing “That Was COOL!!”
These kids were fully engaged, using the DE Science Techbook both in and out of class. I had sent home an Introduction letter to the parents explaining how their child had full access to the DE Techbook for the next few weeks and that they should explore the dynamic educational opportunities within their free trial subscription.
Students were very excited to go home and find what other scientific interests they could delve into. The feedback I received from parents and kids was overwhelmingly positive, once again, students begging to stay longer so they could work with me, experiencing science in a fun and engaging way!
Students were thrilled to have experienced science through technology thanks to the DE Techbook, iPads and all the great free educational resources out there! A special thanks to UW Marshfield/Wood County for their support in advancing student interest in STEM!