Play can be innovative

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It’s funny, every time I put together a list of subjects I plan on writing about, something happens that makes me turn around and completely rewrite them. Take yesterday for instance. It was President’s Day, I was suppose to have a day off, spend time with the family, see a few friends and then end the night off with my Reading Class that I’m taking for my new state license. Well, when a day kicks off with several things falling out of cabinets and guinea pigs becoming lost, you know your in for a day. I’m not talking about domino effect where it starts off small and then it feels like the piano is about to fall on you. I’m talking about various little things from being late or you’re son constant talking about wanting to go home that snowballs into a day you just want to end. However, in-between those moments of running late to meet people, some play happened.

Take the opening image with the square “tetris” pieces shown. These were at a library we went to in the kids’ learning area. They were to have children play and make various shapes with. I was talking to my wife’s best friend who is a math teacher talking about the community college she works for wanting to move coding into their sessions. Well, I took the tetris pieces and started putting together shapes and then took a few color markers and told her to solve the problems for them. She created a few perimeters and then fixed some angles. Explaining how to solve the problems and then I told her about using Ozobots, which the community college is looking into purchasing. She loved the idea and her daughter thought it would be fun. I also talked about using the App Tickle and using Spheros. She couldn’t believe how simple it would be to introduce coding or how it would relate to her students and future jobs. It was something that made my day better, knowing I just introduced something another teacher could benefit for her classroom and not add any stress to it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.21.42 AM Next is my buddy Mario over here, I created this 3D model without using a 3D printer. He is made out of Hama Perler Beads and took about forty minutes to assemble from beginning to end. While my school district isn’t into too many financial problems like my previous or surrounding districts. We have had to relay on grant writing and Donors Choose to fund more of our technology for our students. Sadly, as we know, our current one to get Spheros and Drones into our Art Department looks like it will not be successful and we will probably restructure a new one in the future. Its just the reality that we can’t have these for our classroom at the moment, however Perler Beads for 3D printing is a reality with our students. We are having students use Perler Beads to create 3D printing from keychains to achievement badges in the same time it would take to load a program and have them print out in a more “cleaner” version instead of using an iron and drawing up a pattern on their chromebooks or iPads. However, the reward is all the better. Students love working on their Perler Bead creations. Putting the effort in, assembling them and then seeing the final results. They use all the full work of S.T.R.E.A.M into each of their creations, they don’t even know they are doing it an they want to do it more and more with their lessons. We are even working with a local community college to get in some GameJams with their Perler Bead creations as character models for games they want to create. It really pushes our students to step outside their usual lessons and projects and into a more interactive PBL type of classroom. It’s bringing in a lot of success.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.21.49 AM  Finally, yesterday a situation that ran us a bit late, an old friend gave me his old Star Trek collectibles, like the U.S.S. Defiant here. Well, this is turning into being a great lesson I am currently putting together for a Kid Blog unit I’m currently working on for my Reading Class on the vehicles of war. How does that relate to this former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine spaceship? Well, the history of the Defiant was to be a new type of battleship in the Star Trek Universe to engage and destroy the Borg. A cyborg alien race that strives to absorb all cultures into a single hive creation. Freedom, choices, all eliminated to serve the pursuit of knowledge and peace (sound familiar?). So, there is one part of history right there, the next is the history of the ship when it showed up. It was wrought with problems and was put in storage and barely used, not to different from the Spruce Goose or the Hercules if everyone knows their history of Howard Hughes. A large carrier plane that was meant to serve in the war, but the war ended before it was used and lead to a lot of problems for Hughes with the US Government. How is the Spruce Goose or the Defiant similar in history? Why do we build weapons or war and then throw them away when they aren’t used or how it causes money problems or lost of funds during military actions? It’s a very STEM and Business model that can be used your classroom.

It’s very amazing how a day that feels like it doesn’t want to let up on you can lead to so many ideas, because as I said yesterday. Innovation can happen just by stepping out your front door or when you feel the day is mean to be nothing, but trouble. Sometimes, it can be a blessing in disguise.



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