Let Sphero & Google Slides Support Math

Sphero MIni Angels.jpeg

Today I’m reminiscing upon my time spent in an Elementary School Math Class, and the teaching of angles. I wonder what would happen in this classroom if the students first watched the teacher model drawing acute, obtuse and right angles. Then the students draw their own angles on paper followed by working in a group where a Sphero Mini is remotely controlled  to move along the rays around the vertex of an angle.

I see this as a group center lesson where one student is responsible for capturing a video as another student formed the angle using a tablet device to move the Sphero bot along the drawn pathway. Once the videos are captured the students would share them in a group Google Drive Folder. They would use this folder to insert the videos into a Google Slide deck. One video for each slide in the deck. This is where the student would write their reflections about each angle type.

The teacher might ask questions to jumpstart the students with writing their reflections.

  • Did the Sphero Mini have difficulties navigating the vertex formed by the two line segments or rays?
    • Why or Why not?

NOTE: The students may answer the questions individually or collaborate in a small group.

Once the angle slide deck is completed this may be embedded into a Classroom Maintained Google Site showcasing student creation and exploration.

Create Illustrated Stories w/Google Slides

Students can now easily smash together drawing and writing talents within a Google Slide. Google recently added access to Google Keep from within a slide.  This allows students and teachers to drag drawings, lists and notes onto a Google Slides’ canvas. Over the last couple years I’ve heard both students and teachers requesting the need for a whiteboard feature built-in to Google Slides. Now thanks to Google Keep’s drawing capabilities this is possible to do!

The whiteboard built into Google Keep will allow the user to draw illustrations, graphs, write math equations and etc.. with ease. This provides another method for students to use for explaining content knowledge by using visual creation.

Tweaking Questions & Collecting Data…

Thanks to the NJ Ed Tech Team Google Summit  I’m now a proud owner of a Google Home. After playing with the Google Home for a few weeks I started to think about the value an inexpensive tech tool like this could have in a learning environment.

My husband and I noticed the Google Home has a hard time answering “Open Ended Questions”. Due to this one is forced to learn how to ask  “direct questions” to receive answers. It is amazing how quickly question formation changes in avoidance of hearing “I don’t know the answer” or “but I’m learning new things everyday.” 

Google Home

Once this artificial intelligence device started answering  the questions it was easy to understand how it could assist us.  The Google Home can provide the time of day, not only at home but anywhere in the world. It tells about the weather in one’s area, remembers a shopping list, solves math problems, answers factual questions, plays music, looks up recipe ingredients and etc… It can even play trivia games! This helps to hone our knowledge banks for factual information. I have mentioned just a handful of the interactive capabilities a Google Home may provide.

So you may be thinking how might this be used in the classroom? One of my goals is to support students with becoming independent participants within a classroom community. Everyone needs assistance at different times in their life. When a child explores and asks questions to discover answers their communication and critical thinking skills are nurtured.  This sets an environment where the Google Home may be used to provide a correct answer.  A Teacher would jump upon the opportunity to facilitate a classroom discussion about the answer.  This fosters an environment where student esteems are built rather than destroyed. Learning isn’t about spitting out facts but understanding the relationships of the factual information.

One way this may be used in an elementary classroom is though the tracking of daily weather. This is a common routine for most kindergarten classrooms. The student will still look out the window and share observations about what they see. After the information is added to a Google Sheet the student may ask the Google Home about today’s weather for the school’s location. This information may be added to the Google Sheet as well. A quick classroom discussion may occur if the Google Assistant provides a different answer than the physical observation.

This same lesson may be built upon for upper grade levels. It is one way to collect data which could be transferred into scientific or math discussions. This not only hones communication, and critical thinking skills but adds the reinforcement of using data for solving problems. The Google Home is a relatively inexpensive tool which allows the teacher to integrate technology in supportive ways for whole class usage.

Using Sites for More than a Classroom Newsletter

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 6.40.14 AM

Earlier this summer I started creating a workshop entitled “Using Sites for More than a Classroom Newsletter”.  While preparing for this workshop I realized the New Google Sites was more than the average website builder. When first starting to build with the New Google Sites I missed the flexibility of selecting my own fonts and embedding gadgets and etc… via html. Now I’m thankful for the new site builder! Once I started constructing the workshop prezo as a Google Site the potentials for using the new site builder dawned on me! I discovered the New Google Sites is more than the average website builder!

One of the first things I noticed was the share settings and the ability to add collaborators. Immediately I started exploring different projects based on collaboration. Using the new sites started to become a challenge for me to discover more exciting features and a variety of uses for the educational community. Yes! I did exactly this and discovered the New Google Sites was not only intuitive to use but a tool which offers a vast amount of usages. When one considers the integration of all the core Google for Education APPs along with the New Google Sites it delivers one powerful punch as an educational tool!

 Some Google Sites Ideas

  1. Share a Digital Break Out Edu Adventure with Students
    • Use critical thinking skills to solve the mystery
  2. Use to deliver daily objectives
    • Supports students with doing independent work
  3. Share a Community Ice Breaker
    • Strengthens communication
  4. Go Paperless Create an Anchor Chart Site
    • Provides students with 24/7 resources
  5. Student Created Collaborative Weekly or Monthly Newsletter
    • Supports collaboration, and communication
  6. Classroom Created Collaborative Notes
    • Created & Curated via Sites
    • Immediate scaffolding for students
      • Students understand other students explainations
    • Let students have fun with this!
      • Insert videos
      • Insert audio links
      • Share interactive websites
  7. Student Portfolios
    • Building Digital Resumes Practice
    • Reinforces Digital Citizenship Skills
  8. Share Infographic Projects
    • One page per student
      • Student builds info graphic by using sites
  9. Use as a Student built Wiki
    • Students share tech support
    • Share Math Problem Solving ideas
  10. Curate Student Artwork, Poetry and etc…
  11. and ?
    • Share your idea in the comment area
      • It just may be added to this list 😃

Teachers Helping Teachers

Writing Math Stories using My Maps

The last couple of weeks I’ve worked on several different workshops and a presentation. This has made me think quite a bit about active learning and students as the creator.  I’ve also grown to understand students internalize their learning when it is meaningful and authentic to them. This is when I thought why can’t My Maps be used to help the students collect data. After they’ve collected this real world data the student can open a Google Slide and create a “Math Stories about the My Map Journey” they created.

The beauty of this is in the end the student may link the Google Slide Math story to the My Map Journey. Imagine a math journey where you can actually zoom in on the roads being measured. The student may include actual screen-captures of the roadways and locations mentioned in their stories.  A project like this can unlock the creative writer as well as the mathematician hidden within every child.

Creating a Directional My Map

  • Have students map a bicycle journey from school to a nearby location
  • Open My Maps
  • In search window type beginning location
  • Example address or name of school, store and etc…

Maps Type location here

  • Drop Pin for the location

Map Click Here to add the Marker Pin

  • Click “Directions to here” icon
  • Add a second location

map add 2nd location

  • Click layer where first pin was dropped
  • Drop pin above the second location
  • Title the marker with the name of the location

Map click layer.gif

  • Now click the measure distances and areas ruler
  • Measure between the two points double click to add the distance to the layer
  • Click the layer options settings (3 vertical dots)
  • Select open data table
  • Edit the table.
  • Under Description for the starting point type “0” miles & starting point
  • Edit location 2 with the milage from measuring & type from start or beginning point

map final.gif

  • Now drop a pin to add another location
  • Type the location name
  • Measure from the last location to the new location.
  • Repeat the process until you create an end point location