6.13.2016


Colorado Education Association Summer Leadership Conference


Power Point Presentation from Tech Tools Session at Summer Leadership: 

Presentation in Google Slides

Link to Additional Technology Tools and Resources: 



Links to Classroom Tools Suggestions and More Ideas for Instruction Based on Tools From Today:

Maker Spaces



4.11.2016

You Might Be a Geeky Teacher is You Spent 3 Days of Your Spring Break in a 3D/4D Printing Photo Origami Class!


The workshop, 3D/4D Design, Printing and Photo Origami  Class, by CU Discovery Services was a three day class offered for educators.  The video was our final project. We designed it in Sketchup, printed it and then used polymers and muscle wire to make the catapult work! This style of professional development offered hands-on experiences with 3D/4D printing and design. We were introduced to cutting edge work with polymers and creating objects that could be inserted into a space and then by introducing heat, changing what the object could do. We studied the design process and worked to solve real-world problems.   

Resources for Photo Origami and some aspects of this this program can be found on the Science Discovery website at:http://sciencediscovery.colorado.edu/resources/teacher-resources/engineering-is-everywhere/photo-origami-energy-design-and-change/
There are additional resources specific to this class are on DropBox at:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tndzw2odrjx1onw/AAAVZu9RXZ-7ANU9Q1QsjwJLa?dl=0  


Before taking this class, I knew that 3D printing would engage students in our STEM classrooms but didn’t have a clear understanding of the multiple ways that I could provide the instruction needed to make that happen.  My original goal was to learn enough about 3D printing to be able to share it with my staff and students at STEM.  Giving students time in CAD software like SketchUp and Tinkercad is a game changer and  enables them to harness college and career readiness skills at a very young age!  


Taking the class and being actively involved in the challenges has shown me how 3D printing can be an extremely valuable tool in creating prototypes with student solutions to our PBL’s.  CU Boulder is using polymers to solve real-world problems like creating inexpensive robots that can be placed in an area and then activated with light to change their dimensions.  This has medical applications like using it for angioplasty instead of balloons reducing the risk of rupturing an artery.  Adding the 4D dimension with the inexpensive polymers promotes 21st Century Learning Skills and expands horizons!  Imagine our kids working with the same materials that college research graduate students are using to solve problems at CU Boulder!  


We all can’t be an expert at everything, but after three full days, I feel that I have more knowledge to educate our staff on the Lulzbot Mini, it’s local support and how to use the Sketchup and Cura software.  I also feel like I can introduce the use of polymers in an engaging way so that student will want to use these two mediums to create a 4D object that changes shape or moves!    


The SketchUp drawing platform can easily be introduced and incorporated in the technology curriculum in the younger grades as they begin to visualize 3D objects.   


Making mistakes are part of learning.  When using 3D printers, there are ample ways to design, make mistakes, fix them, revise and print again.  This is part of the design process that engineers work through.  There is also a knowledge base with the printer itself.  Troubleshooting is a way of life with these printers and taking this class gave me a great contact and expert partner in CU Boulder’s Eric Carpenter.  Because of this training, he will help us to launch our program, troubleshoot projects and printers and even loan us a 3D printer on a limited basis so that we can print more projects at once thereby offering this experience to a whole class with a reasonable amount of printing time.  


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Click HERE to see a video of the finished 3D Dice Thrower created during the training!  

2.26.2016

Teacher Librarian Day! #FindYourPark #Preserve50

Teaching with Primary Sources at the Metropolitan State University of Denver in conjunction with History Colorado are hosting their 12th annual Teacher Librarian Day.  We love this interaction with our peers and scholars around the state.  Two Geeky Teachers are excited to present a session on Finding Your National Park and celebrating the 100th anniversary of America's National Parks!  



Click on this link to access the presentation!  You will find links to at least 10 ways to bring the National Parks into your classroom!

Join us in the discussion about your favorite park.  Click on this link to add your favorite park and why.  Consider using a shared Google Drawing to collaborate and gather ideas in one location.  This is a great way to jump start a lesson and engage your learners or to check for understanding at the end of a lesson!  

Check out Find Your Park for more information on the 100th Anniversary Celebration and how you can be a part of it!



2.23.2016

#Preservation50: Yes it Belongs in the Classroom




Have You Thought about Teaching Preservation in Your Classroom? 
Sometimes, It is All About a Question.

50 years ago the National Historic Preservation Act was passed. This act created a system of preservation initiatives (including education) and processes that help to protect and preserve our vital natural and built historic resources and landscapes in the United States. This act makes possible many of the things that we enjoy and teach about today including historic houses, landscapes, and parks. The act provides funding for preservation,interpretation, and protection for many of these locations, and ensures that these important places will be a lasting piece of our heritage in this country. 

YET, how often do we ask the simple questions in the classroom that can not only support higher levels of thinking for our students, and at the same time create and environment for discussion of our historic places by our thoughtful future citizens and stewards of our country? Questions like: 

Why is this place significant? 
What are the benefits of historic preservation? 
What happens if this place no longer exists? 
What's special about the architecture of this place? 
How is this historic place tied to this region?

Preservation is a challenging word. To some it means restriction, to others creativity, to even others opportunity. In any case, historic preservation is a national movement that is relatively unknown by students. Have you thought about introducing it to your students in the context of teaching?  Take a moment and try one of these questions listed in this blog to engage your students in conversation about historic places. Then, how about taking a virtual jaunt over to the #Preservation50 website for some teaching resources as well? 

In honor of this year's anniversary, how about making a simple pledge? Next time you talk about a historic place, shift the conversation to your students and "take 5." 

Take 5 minutes to define what historic preservation means.
Take 5 minutes to identify why this historic place or landscape is significant in history.
Take 5 minutes to share a primary source from that historic place - and engage your visual learners.
Take 5 minutes to encourage your students to talk about their favorite historic place and share their connection to it.
Take 5 minutes to ask students what they can do to support the preservation of a historic place.