Archive of ‘Science’ category

Kinder Shares What they Know about Animals

Collaboration with teachers is SO much fun! Our kinder students just started learning about animals and their teachers wanted to have the students share their learning by creating videos.

A few weeks ago, Tony Vincent visited our school and taught a first grade lesson using the website, Unite for Literacy. Although the book choice isn’t huge on this site, there are several animal books. The nice thing is that students can choose to listen to the book as they read so they don’t get bogged down with harder vocabulary.

We decided to split the lesson into two 30 minute parts since there was quite a bit involved. Students needed to read their story. Then, they were to use ChatterPix Kids (free) to tell about their animal.

For the first session, we started with practicing how to take a screen shot since we wanted a photo of a favorite picture from the book to upload to ChatterPix. Next, the students were given an animal card with a QR code that took them directly to the book they were to read. Once scanned, we went on a picture walk through the book – we didn’t take time to read or listen to the story. The goal was to find a favorite image and screen shot it. Then, we asked the children to listen to the story two times. Each child received a piece of paper where they could write the name of their animal and jot down facts they wanted to share. You should have seen the little ones taking notes!

The next day the students returned to the iLab. Armed with their notes and iPads, we walked through the ChatterPix for Kids app, getting everyone to the point where their photo from the previous day was uploaded and ready to record.

For this project, we only allowed students to add their name. Kids can get carried away with the stickers available in ChatterKid. Since those served no purpose, they were off-limits for the day!

After all the videos had been airdropped to me, I pulled them into Thinglink, onto a map where I tried to place the link where the animal lived. Thinglink is a fabulous way to add links, annotations, videos, etc to an image.

Here are links to the Thinglinks for the other two classes:

Our two sessions were super busy but the students were amazing in how they approached the task – listening intently to learn about their animal and then sharing what they learned. I was able to take several photos from Mrs. Rea’s class to show the process of what the children did. 

What Do You Know about the Rainforest?

Our second graders can share quite a bit of information and they are excited to do so! They’ve been researching types of rainforests, animals that live there, and much more. We decided that the students would create a page about their topic using the Book Creator app, air drop their page to me, and I would compile these into class books.

I created a template and air dropped it to our iPad set. The students inserted a photo of the picture they had illustrated and added labels.

One class wrote an ABC Rainforest book while the two other classes created a book about Rainforest Animals.

Then the recording began. I had ordered these cute retro microphones from Amazon and they arrived just in time for this. Unfortunately, I only had six and everyone wanted one! We also have a few recording cubes that work quite well at reducing background noise.

The students spread out in the lab as well as in their classroom and we were able to get everyone recorded pretty quickly.

The books have been saved in two formats:

  • ePub book that can be read on iOS devices using the iBooks app (Click on ePub book link below while on an iOS device. Choose download > open in iBooks.)
  • Video that can be viewed on any device

The main issue with making a class book is that every student speaks at different levels. Some have extremely quiet voices and others come across quite clearly. You’ll most likely need to adjust your volume often!

Here’s one of the videos (see links below to other class videos).

Enjoy learning about the rainforest!

Mrs. Garcia

Mrs. Shapard

  • ABC Book of the Rainforest ePub book
  • ABC Book of the Rainforest video

Mrs. Zabriskie

Rocket Fuel!

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to visit a science class as students experimented with the various ratios of vinegar and baking soda to create “rocket fuel.” Students were to measure the materials and combine in a clear plastic film canister. The lid had to be popped on quickly in order for the ingredients to mix and send the “rocket” into the air.

There was so much excitement in the room. However, the best part was to watch “failure” occur. NO ONE became angry even when they had repeated failures. Most involved not being able to snap the lid in place quickly enough. What a learning experience!

The students always reflect on their experiments but I thought we’d take it a step further. The children were asked to blog and write a reflection of their experience.

  • What combinations of baking soda and vinegar did their group try?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?

These were some of the best posts I’ve had from these students in a long time!

Here are some samples. To read more, click here then click on a fourth grade teacher’s name.

I really like the next one because it’s obvious this group suffered failures. After visiting with the girls, they also showed resilience!

Lesson learned –> Make SURE the blog topic is something that is exciting to the students!

We Know the Water Cycle!

Mrs. Cooper’s second graders were asked to show their understanding of the water cycle and to do this we decided to have the students add something to their blog. However, a visual is extremely helpful in understanding so we chose to have the children draw a picture in the Drawing Box app, import it into Explain Everything where it would be recorded, save it to the camera roll, then upload it to their post on KidBlog. All of this was accomplished on our iPad minis!

Process from Drawing Box to KidBlog

Process from Drawing Box to KidBlog

A lot to do for second graders but they were up for the challenge!

Water Cycle created in Drawing Box app

Water Cycle created in Drawing Box app

Here are the steps the students went through:

  • Draw in the Drawing Box app > Save to photos
  • Import picture to Explain Everything > set as background
  • Record in Explain Everything > save as movie to photo roll
  • Open KidBlog > create new post > upload video from photo roll
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Checking the recordings

The students would love for you to visit their blog and leave comments!

Mrs. Cooper’s Class Blog

Things I Learned:

  • Plan at least a couple of hour-long sessions to draw, record, and upload to the blog.
  • Don’t forget to explain how to use the “highlighting/arrow” tools for Explain Everything. I did and was really annoyed at myself for doing so! Those are powerful tools when using a screen casting app. We will definitely use these in an upcoming project.
  • I highly recommend the paid version of Drawing Box. It has a better collection of drawing tools. All of our student iPads have this version but Mrs. Cooper had the free app and she was disappointed not to have more options.
  • The students are quick learners and did extremely well with the project. Part of the objective of this was for them to become familiar with the app so that they could easily use it in the future.

The students enjoyed working with Explain Everything and I look forward to see how they use it with other subjects.

ABC Weather with Second Graders

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photo by K. Arrington

Mrs. Shapard’s second graders have been learning all about weather. When she mentioned that to me, I suggested taking what the students had learned to create some type of an “ABC Weather” project.

We brainstormed different ways to do this and ultimately decided to create a video using the Drawing Box and Explain Everything apps on the iPad minis.

The students were assigned a letter (or 2) and then did some research. Sometimes you really have to stretch to come up with ideas for a few of the more obscure letters!

The first step was to illustrate the letter chosen. I like the Drawing Box app and much prefer the paid version as it has so many more tools. Almost everyone finished in a 40 minute session. Drawings were saved to the camera roll (Photos) for the following step.

Next, we had to import the pictures to Explain Everything. Since this was the first time the students had used the app, I went over the tools and gave them some practice time before we continued with their weather project.

ShapardAfter a few minutes, they were ready to begin. The students tapped on the + to begin a new project. They were guided through the process of inserting the picture and setting it as the background (so it wouldn’t move around). Then the recording began! This part took longer than expected – not because the technology was a problem but because it was difficult to find quiet places to record. And, for some, absolute perfection was desired so any tiny mistake called for a do-over! After recording, the video was saved to the camera roll and air dropped to me. The students and I LOVE air drop! So quick and easy.

EE to video to vimeo

Apps and process for publishing the Weather video

I pulled everything together in iMovie and uploaded the video to Vimeo. (Click here for direct link.)


But, the students weren’t finished!

“What about making an eBook?” announced one child, then another and another!

So, we now have a video AND an ePub book made with the Book Creator app. Yes, it’s the same information but the students were excited to share their work in different formats.

All students chose the square format (necessary for all to be same size if combining books), added their picture, changed the background, recorded their narration, and emailed the book to me. From there it was easy to combine all the books (absolutely LOVE that feature of Book Creator).

Drawing box to Book Creator

Apps Used to Create the Class Book

Click below to read the ePub book on your iOS device or with the Google Chrome browser.

Our Weather ABC Book by Mrs. Shapard’s Class

Directions to download books to your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc):

  • You will need the iBooks app (free) installed on your iOS device.
  • Click on the book link above (while on your iOS device).
  • Tap on the download button.
  • Choose Open in . . . and then choose Open in iBooks
  • The book is now in iBooks on your iOS device.

Directions to read the ePub book on a computer: