High School Lesson Ideas

English Language Arts

Grade: 6-12
Subject: English Language Arts
Objective: The student will be able to make corrections based on teacher feedback.
Original Post: Reverse and Improve Your Instruction with Screencasts

Feedback is one of the most important — and most time-consuming — pieces of a teacher’s job. Ideally, we would have regular conferences with all of our students going line-by-line through their writing. However, this isn’t possible. So instead, we collect their essays, grade them at home, and return them, along with comments that we hope will help the students improve.

Unfortunately, research shows that when students see both a grade and a comment on their work, they only look at the grade and ignore the comment. But screencasts can help.

Go through grading students’ papers as you normally would. However, use a document camera connected to your computer OR a video camera to record the paper and your corrections, along with your voice explaining the corrections. Stop and re-start the recording between each paper, so you’re creating a separate video for each student’s paper. Upload these videos on a website like YouTube or Vimeo, which give you the option to make them private. Share the video ONLY with the student whose paper is being graded.

Now, instead of only receiving a marked-up essay, your students can have a virtual conference with you. If they have any questions, they can add them as a comment to the video, which you can reply to. These dialogues are now recorded, and you can use them during parent-teacher conferences or special education proceedings, if needed.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: English Language Arts
Objective: The student will be able to comprehend various texts and synthesize his/her knowledge in order to communicate the main idea and supporting details to others.
Original Post: Search Engine Scaffolding: Free tools help your students become search engine experts

Introduce students to Qwiki. Start a discussion about what Qwiki can and cannot tell users, guiding students to the idea that Qwiki is mainly for basic facts (main ideas), rather than in-depth information. Invite students to create a Qwiki based on a text they’re reading in class. Explain that they’re only communicating the main idea, supporting details, and main themes of the text; nothing more. Using a movie-making program (MovieMaker, iMovie, or PiTiVi), have students use image, videos, and their own narration to create a 30-second Qwiki.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Any subject
Objective: The student will be able to comprehend various texts and synthesize his/her knowledge in order to communicate the main idea and supporting details to others.
Original Post: Search Stories Give Reading Assignments a Fresh Twist

Instead of asking students to write brief summaries of reading assignments — whether they be textbook chapters, articles, or poems — have them create a search story. Students can share their stories with one another, small groups, or the entire class. Then, they can assess whether other students’ stories do a good job of listing the main idea and supporting details of the text.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, or Art
Objective: The student will be able to communicate the beliefs and motivations of a historical figure, based on research.
Original Post: Harness the Power of Social Networking in Your Classroom, Safely and for FREE

In social studies, students research leaders of countries. In science, they learn about famous scientists. In English language arts, they study remarkable writers. And in art, they learn about artists.

For each of these tasks, teachers can have students choose a specific famous figure. Through research, the students become experts on their subjects. Then, the role playing begins. Using a social networking site, students create profiles in the guise of their subjects. They update their status, leave comments, and post questions that their subject might actually post. (Wouldn’t it be great to post a status update as Emily Dickinson every day for a month? “I’m nobody, who are you?”) They interact with other historical figures – have conversations and debates – in the role of these subjects.

Teachers can create rubrics for this assignment as they see fit – for example, the profile must include the figure’s birthday, childhood details, photo, and beliefs about government. Each student must update their profile at least once a day and must comment on at least three other students’ profiles each day.

Grades can reflect how often a student contributed to the class network, as well as how accurate his/her statements were.

Grade: 3-12
Subject: Reading
Objective: The student will be able to describe a character’s behaviors, values, and beliefs.
Original Post: Turn Social Networks into Learning Networks with Edmodo

Anyone who has taught in a K-12 classroom knows that no matter what subject you teach, you teach reading. Reading comprehension is ingrained in nearly everything we do as adults and, as such, is embedded into every K-12 subject.

But, often, teachers complain to me that technology is destroying reading and, specifically, reading comprehension in 21st century students. Kids are so used to immediate gratification — to getting everything in snippets, to 120-character tweets, to Google synopses, and to Facebook status updates — that 500-page novels are a bore. “Can’t we just watch the movie?” they’ll ask. (I think this last question has been around a bit longer than the internet; I remember my own peers asking it 20 years ago.)

It’s true that technology has changed the way we process information, including the way we read. There’s a plethora of recent research studying how these new technologies have affected the way we interact, process, and analyze. There are studies suggesting that, as a society, our very brain chemistry is changing. Good or bad, this is happening. As teachers, there’s virtually nothing we can do to stop our students from having Facebook accounts or using their cell phones. But our job is still to teach them to read, understand, and appreciate tons of different writing — literature, science journals, historic papers, daily news, math proofs, websites, etc.

Frankly, it’s never been easy to get most students to love The Odyssey. But now, technology has given us a golden opportunity — a chance to hook most of our students into reading novels, textbooks, newspapers, and virtually anything else. We just have to do what great teachers do best — get a little creative.

Reading is all about empathy. If we feel for the people we’re reading about, if we can imagine what they’re feeling and thinking and hoping, if we can relate to them, we’re hooked. And social networks can help students become empathetic. They can allow students to walk around in someone else’s skin, virtually.

Say, for example, that your class is reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Assign each student a different character in the book. The student’s assignment is to pay particular attention to that character — their beliefs, actions, motivations, voice. Everything. And then, to become that character. Have each student create an Edmodo profile, posing as their assigned character. Then, as you read the book throughout the semester, students must post updates, comments, related links, videos, etc., on the class social network. They are to become their assigned character, interacting on a social network. (It’s great if the teacher takes on the role of a character as well.) What link would Ron Weasley share with his peers? How would Draco Malfoy react to it? These are all high-level questions students will have to ask, think about, and answer through the class social network. Best of all, they can be funny or ironic or touching — all motivation to try their best at the assignment. Your class Edmodo wall might look something like this:

harrypotter-edmodo

Math

Grade: 2-12
Subject: Math
Objective: The student will be able to use grade-level appropriate mathematical operations to solve a problem.
Original Post: Reverse and Improve Your Instruction with Screencasts

Often in math class, a student will struggle with a particular operation or problem type. In 4th grade, a few of my students had consistent problems with subtraction and division. Screencasts are perfect for offering these students one-on-one tutoring, without having to schedule the time.

Create a screencast with a sample problem involving the operation the student has trouble with. Give the struggling student a worksheet with an identical problem, but with the numbers slightly different. Have students follow the screencast step-by-step, pausing it to complete each step on their own worksheet (for younger students, it might be a good idea to tell students when to pause the screencast during the recording).

You can create one such screencast and use it with several students over several years. The students can watch the screencast in class, using headphones, or at home, with parental support.

Science

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Chemistry
Objectives: The student will be able to:

  • explain the periodicity of the periodic table;
  • describe various trends that occur both horizontally and vertically through the table;
  • use the software to manipulate the table and draw conclusions based on their observations.

Original Post: From Trash to Treasure: Three Easy Steps to Convert Corporate Garbage into FREE Classroom PCs

Chemistry students can use Kalzium to explore the periodic table, to investigate chemical equations, to graph elemental data, to visualize molecular structure, and as a reference. Here’s a video showing everything the program can do:

The following lesson was developed by Jim Hutchinson and comes from https://wiki.edubuntu.org/Lessons/Kalzium:

  1. Preface the activity with some discussion of the periodic table. Ideally, students will be somewhat familiar with the structure of atoms, the meaning of atomic weight, atomic number, etc.
  2. When introducing students to new software, it is beneficial to set aside time for students to explore the software on their own prior to beginning the activity. This would be most effective if it was a separate day. This could be an activity in and of itself with students being asked to make two or three “discoveries” and writing about them.
  3. The overall objective of this lesson is for students to use guided discovery to learn about the logic behind the periodic table and the properties of the elements.
  4. Use the attached handout (Open Office version) (MS Word version) as a guide for the lesson. Modify it accordingly if you want to split it over a couple days. Ideally, two shorter sessions may be more profitable than one longer session. Consider adding time for discussion or group collaboration between the two days and at the end.
  5. Conclude with a class discussion in which students share their observations and offer explanations.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Physics
Objective: The student will be able to explain how Newton’s laws of motion can predict the motion of most objects.
Original Post: Screencasts Turn Students into Digital Teachers

If you haven’t tried out Phun yet, I suggest you download it immediately. It’s a great FREE game where students can build machines that are controlled by the laws of physics (a more advanced version, Algodoo, is $39). Check out one project:

For more, just search “Phun” on YouTube — there are hundreds of examples. With Jing, though, you could take Phun a step farther. As they record their Phun machines, students could explain how the machines work, with specific references to the physics concepts they’ve learned in class. They could annotate over their creations, writing definitions, explanations, and even calculations.

Plus, as a teacher, you could use Phun to demonstrate any number of concepts, like this one:

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Science
Objective: The student will be able to describe the question, procedure, results, and implications of a science experiment.
Original Post: Make Your Students Mythbusters with Video Lab Reports

  • Show students a clip from a Mythbusters episode.
  • Discuss how the clip is similar to a lab report. Explain to students that they will become Mythbusters in their next lab report.
  • Discuss how to make the videos compelling as well as informative.
  • Read about an experiment that students will complete in their next lab.
  • For homework, have students storyboard a Mythbusters-type video about the lab.
  • During the in-class lab, allow students to record their experiment using a Flip camera or the students’ own cell phones.
  • For homework (or in class, if needed), have students record the remaining scenes on their stroyboard. These should include a creative way to ask the question, discuss predictions, report results, and make real-world connections. (Some students might even choose to use puppets.)
  • Either in class or for homework, have students edit their videos using iMovie (Mac), Movie Maker (Windows), OpenShot (Linux), or Flip software.
  • Use your normal lab report rubric to grade the videos.
  • Have students share their videos on a class Web site or a video-sharing site, like YouTube (once you have parent permission).
  • For homework, require students to watch at least three other student videos and leave unique, in-depth comments.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, or Art
Objective: The student will be able to communicate the beliefs and motivations of a historical figure, based on research.
Original Post: Harness the Power of Social Networking in Your Classroom, Safely and for FREE

In social studies, students research leaders of countries. In science, they learn about famous scientists. In English language arts, they study remarkable writers. And in art, they learn about artists.

For each of these tasks, teachers can have students choose a specific famous figure. Through research, the students become experts on their subjects. Then, the role playing begins. Using a social networking site, students create profiles in the guise of their subjects. They update their status, leave comments, and post questions that their subject might actually post. (Wouldn’t it be great to post a status update as Emily Dickinson every day for a month? “I’m nobody, who are you?”) They interact with other historical figures – have conversations and debates – in the role of these subjects.

Teachers can create rubrics for this assignment as they see fit – for example, the profile must include the figure’s birthday, childhood details, photo, and beliefs about government. Each student must update their profile at least once a day and must comment on at least three other students’ profiles each day.

Grades can reflect how often a student contributed to the class network, as well as how accurate his/her statements were.

Grade: 3-12
Subject: Science
Objective: The student will be able to understand and report the details of a specific scientist, animal, element, or concept.
Original Post: Turn Social Networks into Learning Networks with Edmodo

Just like you can assign each student to be a literary character or a historic figure on a social network, you can extend that idea to science. You could assign your students to be famous scientists, scientific principles, or even scientific theories. What would Evolution say to Creationism? If you’re teaching marine biology, you could assign students to be different marine animals. How would they interact with one another if they had personalities, could speak, and could access social networks?

My absolute favorite idea for a science social network, though, was sparked by a video called “Chemical Party.” The video personifies chemical elements and compounds, and it got me thinking, “what would neon post on hydrogen’s wall?” Wouldn’t it be great if your chemistry students were asking this question at home on a Friday night?

Grade: 5-12
Subject: Science
Objective: The student will be able to recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence AND perform tests, collect data, analyze data and display results.
Original Post: Skype’s New Education Site Connects Classrooms Across the Globe

On Skype in the Classroom, post a request for a partner science class with students of the same age as yours. Depending on your scientific focus, it might be interesting to find a class in a different climate or geographic area (coastal vs. plains). Once you find a class and a teacher that meets your needs, set up a schedule of Skype calls — several in the following weeks or months. Using class lists from both classes, work with your partner teacher to create Skype buddies or groups.

Have students meet their buddies on Skype — these will be their lab partners. Either have the students work together decide on their own science experiment or offer them a guided experiment. Have students communicate with their partners via Skype and each collect their own data for the experiment. Have students use Google docs (or another wiki-like tool) to collaboratively record and analyze data and create a final report or presentation.

Social Studies

Grade: 9-12
Subject: History (timelines)
Objective: (any objective with dates, including) The student will be able to explain how the institutions and practives of government during the Revolution were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system.
Original Post: The $55 Interactive Whiteboard

Dates in history were always difficult for me. Luckily, these days, specific dates aren’t as important as they once were, but it’s still extremely important for students to understand the sequence of events in our history. And one of the best ways to teach students about sequences of events is with timelines.

Classtools.net provides a wide variety of widgets that work really well on the Wiimote Whiteboard, including a timeline widget. The program allows users to fill in the dates and add text boxes that include important events. Users can then sequence and resequence the events.

Teachers could throw this tool on their whiteboard, and have students work together to complete an accurate timeline for any important historical period. You could set a timer that gives each student 2 minutes with the pen/keyboard. The other students can help, but every two minutes, the pen is passed off. The challenge is that by the time every student in the class has had a turn, the timeline is complete and accurate.

Best of all, when the class is done, you can save the timeline to your computer or embed it into a blog or Web page for grading or future reference.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Civics, History, and Ethics
Objective: The student will be able to articulate the positive and negative consequences of using nuclear warfare at the end of World War II.
Original Post: Use What Their Mamas Gave ‘Em: Students’ Cell Phones in Education

Teachers can use Poll Everywhere to ask their students an opinion question (i.e., should the United States have used atomic weapons at the end of WWII?). Then, have all the students who answered “yes” stand on one side of the room and all the students who answered “no” stand on the opposite side. Next, have students pair up with someone who had a different answer (you might need a couple groups of three, depending on your numbers). Give the students five minutes to try to persuade their partner(s) that their opinion is the right one. After the five minutes, re-vote. Who changed their minds? Why? Even if students didn’t change their minds, what did they learn from their partner?

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies (Civics)
Objective: The student will be able to understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens in setting directions for public policies and working to support both individual dignity and the common good.
Original Post: Use FREE Blogging to Increase Your Students’ Writing Scores 20 Percent

Blogs are the great equalizer – anyone can be a published writer. And if you’re able to communicate effectively, your message will get attention. One of social studies teachers’ major complaints is that high school students, by and large, are apathetic. But there are tons of examples of students who have affected change through Web 2.0 tools, like the southern California student whose video on sweatshops earned her personal phone calls from the heads of corporations like The Gap.  And the middle-school student whose climate change Web site launched him on a world-wide speaking tour.

Why not give your students the opportunity to affect real change, like this? It might not work for all of them. But most of your students are sure to, at the least, become less apathetic, and perhaps a simple assignment will transform a few into world-known activists for change.

  • After studying social revolutions and current events, have students choose a current social justice issue that interests them.
  • Have students research the topic, possibly authoring a couple of blog posts reporting the facts.
  • Eventually, have students create a multi-media persuasive blog entry trying to convince their peers to make a social change. The change might be something related to their own lives (i.e., recycle) or something they could do to help people far away (i.e. donate money to Heifer International). (You can even make it a competition, to see who can inspire the most change.)
  • Other students (and readers) can leave comments explaining whether or not the blog convinced them to change and why.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies (Career Day)
Objective: The student will be able to understand how people in various professions impact the world, and they will understand what’s required to do those jobs.
Original Post: Wiki-Wiki What?!?

Career Day can be a really exciting time for students, especially in low-income schools, where students might not have many opportunities to talk to college-educated professionals. It gives students a chance to interact with local professionals, and ask questions to help them make important life decisions.

But, too often, Career Day isn’t as productive as it could be. First off, it’s only one day, which isn’t always enough time for students to fully understand every profession. Secondly, you’re limited to the people who are able to come to your specific school on that particular day. Lastly, there’s rarely time for more than a canned (often boring) presentation from most professionals. Wikis, on the other hand, give your students the opportunity to have more meaningful interactions with mentors.

Your class could create a wiki and decide how they’d like to organize it (i.e., careers that require a 2-year degree, a 4-year degree, etc. OR careers that focus in math, social studies, science, etc.). Students could populate the wiki with a few basic questions — what’s the best part of your job? The worst part? How much money do you make? Etc. Then, you could invite professionals (the same ones you’d ask to Career Day, plus those in other parts of the world) to post their replies.

After reading the replies, students could post follow-up questions about the careers that most interest them. The professionals could probably offer some tips on what students could do now to prepare (attend a marine biology camp, start a robotics club, etc.). If students are particularly excited about a few careers (or some align with your standards well), perhaps you could set up field trips based on these careers (i.e., to a local hospital to learn more about cardiologists). Or maybe you could help your students inquire about internship opportunities in the fields that interest them.

You might still decide to host a Career Day after these interactions, and it will probably be a more meaningful day, filled with much more in-depth questions from your students.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, or Art
Objective: The student will be able to communicate the beliefs and motivations of a historical figure, based on research.
Original Post: Harness the Power of Social Networking in Your Classroom, Safely and for FREE

In social studies, students research leaders of countries. In science, they learn about famous scientists. In English language arts, they study remarkable writers. And in art, they learn about artists.

For each of these tasks, teachers can have students choose a specific famous figure. Through research, the students become experts on their subjects. Then, the role playing begins. Using a social networking site, students create profiles in the guise of their subjects. They update their status, leave comments, and post questions that their subject might actually post. (Wouldn’t it be great to post a status update as Emily Dickinson every day for a month? “I’m nobody, who are you?”) They interact with other historical figures – have conversations and debates – in the role of these subjects.

Teachers can create rubrics for this assignment as they see fit – for example, the profile must include the figure’s birthday, childhood details, photo, and beliefs about government. Each student must update their profile at least once a day and must comment on at least three other students’ profiles each day.

Grades can reflect how often a student contributed to the class network, as well as how accurate his/her statements were.

Grade: 9-12
Subject:
Social Studies (World History and Economics)
Objective:
The student will be able to explain how socioeconomic stratification affects human motivation and cultural values.
Original Post: Moving Beyond Bar Graphs with Data Visualization

Gapminder is an amazing tool. It’s pre-programmed with hundreds of global data sets. All students have to do is choose the variables they’d like to compare and press the “play” button.

Often, it’s difficult for students to understand how socio-economic status and stratification affects other aspects of life. But with gapminder, they can have the y-axis display the GDP (income per person) of various countries, and change the x-axis data to see how they compare. Is there a correlation between health and wealth? HIV infection and wealth? Education and wealth? Infant mortality and wealth?

After working with gapminder for a class period, students can choose a research paper topic related to some of the data they saw. Using the data as a starting point, students can flesh out a thesis and a paper related to wealth’s impact on a variety of other factors.

Grade: 3-12
Subject: Social Studies
Objective: The student will be able to understand and report the details of a specific historic figure, country, group, or event.
Original Post: Turn Social Networks into Learning Networks with Edmodo

Social studies teachers have started some of the most creative social networking sites I’ve seen. It’s easy to see why — social networks can make history come alive for students, through role play.

When I was a kid studying the American Revolution, our teacher assigned each of us a historic figure to research. One student got Thomas Jefferson, another was assigned Ben Franklin, and so on. We all wrote papers and made posters. Then, we stood in front of the class and talked for 5 minutes, during which only about 3 kids paid attention. With social networking, this assignment can become more interesting and much more meaningful for all students. Instead of (or in addition to) writing a report, each student could be assigned to create an Edmodo profile, posing as a historic figure (like this Thomas Jefferson profile). Then, students could be required to interact with one another as that historic figure. How would Ben Franklin respond to Thomas Jefferson’s comment about democracy? Students would have to understand a lot about their own historic figure, but they’d also have to know a good deal about other figures in order to converse with them. Deeper, higher-level thinking would be required of students, but the assignment would also be fun and motivating for them.

Social studies social networks don’t have to stop with historical figures, though. No matter what time period you’re studying, students can be assigned to act as countries, groups of people, or even historical events. “If Historical Events Had Facebook Statuses” is a funny look at this idea (be aware, though — it was written for an adult audience).

historical-facebook

Grade: 9-12
Subject: History
Objective: The student will be able to research and communicate important events in history.
Original Post: Timelining for Every Classroom

No matter what your class is studying — European history, American history, world history — you can use a digital timeline to help your students jigsaw information. Take a look at a chapter, unit or even entire year of study, and separate the content by major events or time periods. Have students sign up for one of the events. Then, have your class create a collaborative Capzle. Each student is responsible for adding his/her event, with relevant links and information, to the timeline.

If students make mistakes or omissions, you can have them correct the errors themselves. When it’s finished, the entire class can use the timeline as a study guide for a summative exam.

Foreign Languages

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Foreign Languages
Objective: The student will be able to

  • understand and explain cultural differences between their home country and a foreign country;
  • write fluently in a foreign language;
  • hold common conversations in a foreign language.

Original Post: Powerpoint Schmowerpoint: Teach kids to create really engaging presentations

Often, foreign language classes have students present on customs or traditions of foreign countries. Xtranormal gives students a chance to practice their written communication, as well. Students can type a foreign-language script into the program, and it will be converted to a movie scene.

Students can use the program to create scenarios exemplifying local customs or traditions. These short foreign-language films can serve as intros to larger presentations or as tutorials for students at lower linguistic levels.

Grade: 6-12
Subject: Foreign Languages
Objective: The student will be able to express his/herself verbally in a new language.
Original Post: Reverse and Improve Your Instruction with Screencasts

Using the FREE program Jing, have students create screencasts in the language they’re learning. They can explain step-by-step directions or record a dialogue, all the while annotating pictures on their computer to accompany their speaking. Students can re-record their speaking over and over, until it’s perfect — the repetitive practice will help them learn.

Once they’re finished, they can post the video for their classmates to watch. They can create an accompanying worksheet for their peers to complete as they watch the screencast.

Grade: 5-12
Subject: Foreign Language
Objective: The student will be able to use speaking and listening skills to communicate fluently in the target language.
Original Post: Skype’s New Education Site Connects Classrooms Across the Globe

On Skype in the Classroom, post a request for a partner class that natively speaks your target language. Most likely, there will be a class out there looking for English language partners, as well. Chat with the teacher to set up regular Skyping times and to assign students Skyping partners. Ideally, these sessions would be about an hour in length, with the first 30 minutes spoken in one language and the last 30 minutes in the other.

For each chat, give your students specific assignments — questions about their partner’s culture, life, etc. — to guide the conversations. You might also offer students some prompts, if they have trouble keeping the conversation going for the full hour.

Art

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, or Art
Objective: The student will be able to communicate the beliefs and motivations of a historical figure, based on research.
Original Post: Harness the Power of Social Networking in Your Classroom, Safely and for FREE

In social studies, students research leaders of countries. In science, they learn about famous scientists. In English language arts, they study remarkable writers. And in art, they learn about artists.

For each of these tasks, teachers can have students choose a specific famous figure. Through research, the students become experts on their subjects. Then, the role playing begins. Using a social networking site, students create profiles in the guise of their subjects. They update their status, leave comments, and post questions that their subject might actually post. (Wouldn’t it be great to post a status update as Emily Dickinson every day for a month? “I’m nobody, who are you?”) They interact with other historical figures – have conversations and debates – in the role of these subjects.

Teachers can create rubrics for this assignment as they see fit – for example, the profile must include the figure’s birthday, childhood details, photo, and beliefs about government. Each student must update their profile at least once a day and must comment on at least three other students’ profiles each day.

Grades can reflect how often a student contributed to the class network, as well as how accurate his/her statements were.

Music

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Music
Objective: The student will be able to compose an original piece of music.
Original Post: Digital Storytelling for Beginners

Depending on students’ levels and your objectives, have students use UJAM to record themselves singing an original song or playing an original piece on an instrument. Have them use the site’s options to turn their single track into a full-blown arrangement. Depending on your expectations, give students specific tasks, i.e., they must create a customized ‘style’ for their piece OR they must edit the chords of at least one track.

When all students have completed a piece, collect their mp3s and create an original CD to sell as a fund-raiser.

Technology

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Technology (tinkering)
Objective: The student will be able to create an object to solve a problem or answer a question.
Original Post: Let Them Tinker

Host your own Junkyard Wars competition, using a room of donated “trash” as your school junkyard. Give students a problem they’re challenged with solving, such as building an underwater robot that can lift an object from the bottom of a pool. Then, have kids compete to create something (using only what’s in the “junkyard”) that can complete the challenge in the fastest time.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Technology
Objective: The student will be able to communicate information to others, by engaging them in a mission-based video game.
Original Post: Let Them Play: Video gaming in education

Partner with a middle or elementary class in your area. Have the teacher send you a list of objectives his/her students have been studying. Present these objectives to your high school students and challenge each student to create a video game that will both engage younger kids and help them better understand one of the objectives (allow each of your students to choose which objective they’d like to teach).

Have students build video games using Google’s App Inventor, the iPhone Developer Program, ARIS, Flash, or another game development software (like Kodu Game Lab, Gamestar Mechanic or Alice).

Even simple games, like Lemonade Stand, can go a long way if they’re built creatively. There’s a great opportunity for students to create games that help explain major concepts like evolution or even climate change.

Grade: 9-12
Subject: Technology
Objective: The student will be able to follow programming directions in order to build an Android app.
Original Post: iPad Dream at Realistic Price: the $250 Android Tablet

Have students reflect on things they’ve learned in the previous year (you can focus on one class, or let them choose from any class). Tell them they will create an app to help teach one objective to students who will take the same class next year. Challenge each student to create an app that will both engage students and help them better understand the content.

Have students build apps using Google’s FREE App Inventor, which allows students to create apps for Android devices.

Even simple apps can go a long way if they’re built creatively. This is a great opportunity for students to create apps that help explain major concepts like evolution or even climate change.

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