Start by taking a look at the lessons and examples available on the CrossBraining website. Teachers, especially science teachers, are sure to find relevant lessons they can easily replicate in their classrooms. Even if teachers don't have the GoPro cameras, kids will still benefit from the engaging hands-on activities the site offers. Teachers can also design their own lessons within the platform and assign them to their students. Give kids a chance to design their own windmills using Styrofoam and tape. Or teach students how to measure drag by designing and testing their own parachutes. Since students will be filming and narrating their process, you'll be able to see their patterns of thinking and correct misconceptions when needed. Plus, you'll be able to witness the excitement that hands-on learning generates.Continue reading Show less
CrossBraining is a website where teachers can assign hands-on lessons, and students document their process via scripted, narrated video and written reflections. The site's design is basic, with options to filter lessons by grade level, key terms, materials, or subject area (the developer is working on a standards-based filter). There's no search feature, so teachers will have to spend some time browsing lessons to find the ones they want.
Teachers can choose to assign original lessons or select lessons from the community, and students record their progress by submitting videos and answering reflection questions posed by their teacher. The activities are largely hands-on and can be completed with common household or classroom materials. Having a GoPro camera definitely increases the wow factor for students and opens up more possibilities for learning, but it's not an absolute necessity for all activities.
Through the experiential activities that CrossBraining offers, students will practice skills like iteration, collaboration, and communication as they problem-solve their way through the challenges of each lesson. In addition, the activities promote SEL skills like perseverance, self-management, and relationship skills. Kids will need to work together and hear different perspectives on the best way to work through activities , and they will have to collaborate effectively to take and edit videos. Such experiences can make self-reflection powerful, especially if teachers include questions not just about the content of the lesson, but also the process of working together to achieve success. With careful planning, CrossBraining's numerous resources will immerse kids in concepts that paper and pencil-based activities simply cannot match.
However, it's entirely up to the teacher to scaffold activities, give students feedback, and provide additional support for students' different learning needs. And the site itself could boast a more enticing and sophisticated design with more features. Being able to search and sort lessons would save teachers some time. That said, what the site lacks in pizzazz design-wise, it makes up for in concept. While it would be helpful to have a rating system for lesson quality and a slightly more engaging user interface, the activities themselves promote engagement and collaboration, encouraging both students and teachers to think creatively.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
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