Friday, July 29, 2016

Using Pokemon Go in Any Classroom as an Anchor Activity

Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard of Pokemon Go. Actually, scratch that, if you live under a rock someone has probably turned it over to find a charmander. Buuut, here’s the thing, Pokemon Go debuted in the summer. Our students have had all summer to enjoy mostly uninterrupted Pokemon Go play (hey, it gets the kids moving and outside; if I was a parent I’d looove it),  and now we’re going to ask them to sit still and learn. . . And, there is a Pokegym right next door!

Why not just embrace the madness, and put it to good use in your classroom?

Here’s my personal idea for using the Pokemon Go excitement in your classroom: Send your students on a Pokehunt to “catch them all” and connect it to learning via anchor activities.  

1.       Download the free Aurasma application onto either a classroom device, your device, or that bum device rolling around in the junk drawer (you just need wifi access).
2.       Print out pictures of items that relate to your content (content pics), and hang them around your classroom.
3.       Make a folder (as in a real folder you can hold and touch) and put a different Pokemon on the cover of each folder. Put a different anchor activity in each folder. Dedicate a place in your classroom to be the Pokemon Folder Place.
4.       Make a graph with the X-axis marked with the different Pokemon names, and the Y-axis marked with all the student names. Call this the Pokemon Chart.
5.       Use wifi to connect to internet on device. Find and save Pokemon images to device.
6.       Make an “aurasma” of each content pic and overlay it with a Pokemon image.
a.       Open aurasma app
b.      Click on the “+” sign
c.       Take a picture of the content pic
d.      When prompted for an overlay, choose a  Pokemon pic
7.       When students finish early, they can use their own device (with aurasma downloaded),or the classroom device to scan pictures around the classroom. When students scan an “aurasma-ed” content pic, the Pokemon you chose to use as an overlay will appear (the same sort of augmented reality is used in Pokemon Go).
8.       Students find the folder that matches the Pokemon they just found in the Pokemon Folder Place.
9.       Students do, complete, and turn in the anchor activity.
10.   Students get a sticker to put on the Pokemon Chart indicating they have “caught” that Pokemon.
11.   Students repeat the anchor activity until they have “caught them all”
12.   The first student to catch all the Pokemon wins a prize.

Not sure about what that whole "Aurasma" thing looks like? Read the picture captions below for more explanation!
Let's pretend I hung this pic of the Eiffel Tower in my classroom. 

I take picture of it using the Aurasma application. When prompted for an overlay (the app automatically does this), I add a picture of a Pokemon (for this example, I chose Pikachcu). 

When a student goes on a hunt, s/he clicks on that big purple button which opens a scanner. 

Student scan the classroom until they find an image that has been Aurasma-ed. When they find one, the overlay will appear. Here you can see Pikachu appearing when the student scanned the picture of the Eiffel tower. 

Here is what the overlay looks like when it is done fading in. 

Annnd, you got a great system for using Pokemon Go for enriching anchor activities. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Teaching the STEAM Arts Integration Medieval Castle Unit

I love medieval art and architecture. I also love to teach about medieval art and architecture. Since my first year as an educator, I have taught some version of a castle-building project. About three years ago, I started doing a STEAM version that involved aerial perspective, engineering, building catapults, and a siege tournament. I posted about it, and I still get lots of questions on it.  I taught the same unit last year (when I was a new teacher at a new school), and it wasn't as successful as in years past. Personally, I feel the success (or lack thereof) of the castle unit from last year was due to my lack of structure. I've reconfigured the entire unit, and am sharing with you. Please enjoy!

This unit is designed to build connections between science, math, history, and art. Students will learn about aerial perspective, simple machines, medieval war machines, and medieval architecture. In groups, students will synthesize what they learn to design, sketch, and build their own medieval castles using recycled materials. The culmination of the unit is a medieval siege tournament wherein students use their “Quick Build” catapults  to attack other castles. In order to survive the siege, students must build a strong castle, and a working medieval war machine.
Lessons Contained:
1. Quick Build: Catapult
2. Aerial Perspective
3. Medieval Architecture & Castle Design
4. Design Your Own Castle
5. Assemblage Castle Sculpture
6. Medieval Siege Tournament

Everything you need to complete the unit is contained in these two documents (include links to videos, handouts, and aerial perspective lesson plan). PPT is download-able. Once downloaded, you can edit it to add/delete as it suits you and your teaching style/needs. 
Click here for PDF download

These are contained on the guides above. . .But, in case you want to have another version of links, here ya go!
-Teacher Guide for Unit:
-Aerial Perspective Lesson Plan
-Handout “Castle Design”
-Handout “Siege Tournament”
-Handout “Tournament Score Sheet”
-Video “Levers & Fulcrum”
-Video “Bill Nye & Catapults”
-Video “Living in a Castle”
-Video “Tour Conway Castle”
-Video “Storming a Castle”
-Video “Mythbusters Trebuchet”
-Video “Trebuchet in Action”

Click here for PDF download

Click here for PDF download

Click here for PDF download