Students spend a day playing on Superhero's alliance. In this app they fight against villains. If the app is not available to to you I use any of the videos on the TEDed series. http://ed.ted.com/series/superhero-science.
As students play on the app they are engaged and wondering how this fits into science. It is hard to get them to not play on the app again. This connects with prior knowledge of super heroes but not science.
When students go to the next step the students want to learn more and connect it to the game.
If using TED talks they are interesting but not as engaging, They are a good options and will engage them and start to get at their interest and prior knowledge.
2 Direct Instruction
I walk students through the periodic table of element facts and needed information through an educreation video app that I create based on the prior knowledge my class comes in with. The EduCreations (or Educreations pro) allows you as the teacher to display a copy of the periodic table and annotate it. I like to draw on the periodic table while explaining the important information to them. I also show them how to read the table and each element.
This helps the student learn to identify the needed information before they start investigating their own element. Another great video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RRVV4Diomg if you don't want to create your own video.
3 Guided Practice
Students are exploring their chosen elements that they chose for their superhero through the app. The app allows students to explore the periodic table element by element. It gives students the needed information on the element including the atomic number, weight, protons, etc. It also gives students links to help them start the search of information on their element. This will be the first exploration of the periodic table and students are able to learn the needed information. I give the students a book they are filling out with the needed information (see link below). This app provides all the needed information that students need unless they want to extend their element information. They then do Internet research. The goal is for the students to fill in the important information including the following:
- The element I choose is called _____________________________ and it has the symbol __________ .
- Its atomic number is _________ .
- Its atomic mass is _________ .
- It has a boiling point of _________ .
- It has a melting point of _________ .
- It has a density of _________ .
- At standard atmospheric temperature and pressure it is found in the ____________ (solid/liquid/gas) state.
- It is a ___________________________ (metal/non-metal/metalloid).
- Describe as many things about its physical appearance/properties as you can.
- Describe as many things about its chemical properties or how it reacts to other things as you can.
- Describe as many uses for your element as you can.
- Describe as many hazards of your element to the environment or humans as you can.
The goal is for the student to create a database of information that they will use to create a superhero based on the research. The students are provided a table to help them connect what they learned to the superhero they are creating (see livebinder below)
Here is the link to the livebinder my students use. It contains all of the information the students need including the resource packet.
4 Independent Practice
Students will use Goanimate and http://www.heromachine.com/heromachine-2-5-character-portrait-creator/ to create a superhero based on the information from their element. They have to identify how their superhero links to the element. An example could be the element carbon. Carbon's symbol is C and element number is 6. The element bonds with just about everything. It commonly is found in a solid form and if put under too much pressure becomes a diamond. The students could then create a superhero that wears a black costume, has the super powers of bonding or even creating dust from itself to blow into enemy eyes, and it's weakness is extreme weight.
Goanimate is an amazing website where students are able to create characters or use stock characters we create a video. They have options of setting and backdrops, they control the animation of characters and objects, and even what the characters say. They control what is said either through text to speech or recording it themselves through a headset or webcam. The students LOVE creating their stories into animated videos and sharing them with the class.
Students display mastery through the connection and detention of their knowledge to something that was not obvious. I use a rubric for assessment.
Here is the link to the livebinder my students use. It contains all of the information I use including the rubric at the end of the packet on the home page.
Student present their infromation and Goanimate video to the class. As an extention I often have students randomnly select another student and "bond" their superhero elements to create a super baby!