Friday, March 3, 2017

STEAM Simple Circuit Operation Game

I loved the game, "Operation!" as a kid. It was awesome and ridiculous fun. When I saw that the 6th grade Next Generation Science Standards reference body systems, I knew there was a STEAM project in there somewhere. This simple circuit, "Operation!" game is the result.

Here is the full lesson:

Here is a link to the presentation that explains the lesson, and provides a visual, step-by-step process of how to build the game:

And, here is a template I use for the body:


P.S. If you try this out, send me pics of your kids' works!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Black History Month Visual Art Projects

February is Black History Month, and now more than ever I see my friends, colleagues, and just simply people discussing race, gender, society, and the intersection and interaction of both (sometimes politely; sometimes less so). While I strongly feel we should be consciously engaging in critical discussions about race on a near daily basis, I also strongly feel it is important to take the time to recognize the amazing Black voices that have so richly contributed to our society. 

With that spirit in mind, here are a few projects that lend themselves to the celebration of Black History Month.

Images of Social Justice

Split Portrait with Text

Yes We Can

Digital Anti Bullying Posters 
(incorporate Black heroes and/or issues relating to Black civil rights)

Text Portraits
(use text and/or portraits from Black heroes)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Digital Visual Idioms: Visual Arts and Language Arts Integration

It Costs an Arm and a Leg (my digital visual idiom example)
I love anything that is a play on words. Metaphors, similes, double entendres, and idioms; I love them all! Lately, I've been focusing on integrating visual arts into "general" (non-arts) classrooms. Figurative language often relies on highly visual wordings; it is a natural way to integrate visual arts and language arts.
Bad Hair Day by Robert Deyber, source

by Keren Rosen, source

This lesson is designed for 4th-7th graders (the lesson I wrote is specifically with 6th graders in mind) and focuses on using idioms. We used for the digital design aspect.

Here is a copy of the full lesson plan:

Here is the process:

1. Identify and define idioms
2. Identify and define visual idioms
3. View various examples of visual idioms
4. Discuss the meaning of the idiom textually vs. idiom meaning visually (figurative vs. literal)
5. Review popular idioms / make a class list
6. Students select an idiom
7. Students brainstorm what images are needed to create a visual idiom
8. Students use Google Images or Open Clip Art to source copyright-free / royalty-free images

9. Students view a live or video demonstration of how to search for royalty-free and/or copyright-free sources images and using Pixlr to create their visual idiom

10. Students use the "Pixlr Tips and Tricks" handout for reference 

11. Students create their artwork

12. Students self-asses their artwork