Saturday, 21 January 2017

World Travels

Here are a few of the things students were working on... This Week In Gifted!

These Stick People Have Itchy Feet

Students are becoming very adept at photo editing.  They are able to get rid of backgrounds in photos, combine photos and add text to an image.  They've created stick people with their own heads attached and now these stick people are traveling the world!  Some of their adventures were presented last week here and here.  Things really got cooking this week!  Have a look (link):




Sphero SPRK

Students in the Tuesday afternoon Summerland class are getting the opportunity to work with the Sphero SPRK robot.  Trout Creek principal, Mr Redden, has provided the robot and students are learning how to program it.  Students are taking turns and completing coding challenges with this engaging little robot. 
Sphero SPRK

Thanks for checking in!

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Head Transplants

Head Transplants

You knew it was going to happen some day--head transplants!  This week many students were very successful in transplanting their own heads onto a stick person body.  So far none of the stick bodies have rejected their new heads, which is a relief.  In fact, some of the transplant recipients are doing so well they have begun to travel the world.  Check them out below (link).

5 Card Photo Story

Students worked on their creativity this week with the 5 Card Photo Story activity.  Students were shown 5 images and then asked to come up with a short story involving all 5 images.  After each student told their story, their peers gave appreciations--commenting on what the storyteller did well in their story.  The stories the students came up with were diverse, interesting and often very funny!  The feedback they received from their peers was really positive and specific.  Below are the images the students had to work with (link).



Thanks for stopping by to see what we've been up to... This Week In Gifted!



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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Shaking it up in the New Year

Here are a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Two Truths and a Lie

After a month off from classes we were back at it this week.  We started out by playing 'Two Truths and a Lie'.  Each person says three statements about what they did in the past month.  Two of the statements are true, but one is not.  Everyone else tries to guess which one is the lie so your goal is to try and trick people into picking the wrong one!  As the saying goes "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Designing Buildings to Survive Earthquakes

We watched this video which described some of the ways that buildings can be designed to resist earthquakes.  We also watched part of this video which demonstrated a base isolation system using a model and then showed the real thing in action.
The Tuned Mass Damper in Taipei 101.  See source of photo here.

Photo Editing

Students learned how to combine two images in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Students are already adept at removing the backgrounds from photos.  This week they modified a photo of themselves so that they were just left with a floating head.  The next step is to add the head to stickman body and then make their stickman visit some of their favorite buildings and structures.  I look forward to sharing their creations here in the upcoming weeks!  



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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Making a Block, Green Architecture, and Taking a Break

Here are a few of the things we have done the past couple of weeks in gifted.

Image Manipulation

All of the students now know how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements to remove the background from an image.  They can save the image as a PNG file and import it into Scratch.  Students are finding this a handy skill to have--they are using it on a wide range of images!

Green Architecture

Brainstorming 'green' architecture features. 
Students brainstormed different ways that buildings use energy and resources.  We then went on to learn about different ways that architects are trying to make buildings 'greener' or more sustainable by reducing energy consumption, reducing water use, and choosing materials that are better for the environment.  We looked at the Hearst Tower which has lots of windows and few inner walls to allow for more natural light.  It also has an icefall in the lobby to cool and humidify the space.  We also looked at buildings that have giant blocks of ice in the basement for cooling and others that use shower towers.  We discussed ways that we can help conserve energy in our homes in the summer and in the winter.  Most of the classes finished off with a fun and competitive Kahoot online quiz to review what we learned.


Programming

This past week we learned how to use the 'Make a Block' block in Scratch.  It's very handy when you are repeating the same lines of code over and over again.

Students continued to create programs that feature:
  • reset code
  • broadcast message / when I receive message blocks
  • animations
  • changing backgrounds
  • imported images
Below are some photos of the Thursday afternoon class and the programs they've been working on .






Taking a Break

Last week was the last week of classes until January.  Gifted Program classes stop a couple of weeks before winter break so that students can fully participate in the extra activities and events occurring in their home school.  During this time I will be doing assessments with students who have been referred to the program.

Have a great December and enjoyable winter break.  I look forward to working with the students again in January!

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Saturday, 19 November 2016

How to Change Your Image

Here are a few of the things we did... This Week In Gifted!

Architecture

Last week the Penticton Primary group's class fell on the Curriculum Implementation day, so we did a bit of catching up this week.  We learned about ancient roman architecture, as described in this post.  We also did the amazing egg activity (eggtivity?!)

Changing our Images

The rest of the classes learned how to remove the background from a photo using Adobe Photoshop Elements.  Each student chose a building that interested them, located a photo of it online and downloaded it.  Then they followed these instructions on how to remove the background and save the image as a PNG file.  From there they imported the image into Scratch.  See some samples below (link)




Programming

All of the classes continued to work on their programing skills in Scratch.  This week we focused on how to animate our sprites.  Oscar did a great animation that involved two crabs climbing up the twin towers.  Also with the crab sprite, Finn animated it to appear that it was eating a large watermelon.  All of the students are adding complexity to their programs.  Our goal right now is to build our skills with lots of smaller programming activities.  In the second half of the year we will tackle a  B I G programming project!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Musical Chairs

Here are a few things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

4 Chairs Design Challenge

This week the Summerland AIM/ASPIRE class and the Penticton Wednesday morning class were given a design challenge.  They each had to design a chair for a specific client with specific needs.  Students has to choose two client needs to focus on and then design the chair to meet those needs while also incorporating their (the designer's) own sense of style.  Once students had identified their client's needs, they made drawings of their design and then they created models of their design using cardboard, then pipe cleaners, and finally toothpicks.  We discussed the benefits of making different iterations of their designs and related it to the process architects and other designers use.  Below are photos of some of the designs (link).  This activity was adapted from this lesson created by folks at the Institute of Design at Stanford.



Programming

Students continued to build up their programming skills using Scratch.  We are learning how to;
  • reset our programs so they always start with the correct background and sprites (characters) in the correct location
  • use the 'broadcast message' and 'when I receive message' blocks
  • animate our sprites

Architecture and Remembrance

The Wednesday morning class viewed the slides below (link) and discussed the link between architecture and Remembrance Day / war memorials.  


Thank you for dropping by and checking out what we've been up to this week!


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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Some Concrete Examples

Here are a few of the things that we did... This Week In Gifted!

Once Upon A Time

During Circle this week we played a storytelling game called Once Upon A Time.  Each person wrote a noun on a piece of paper.  One person started the story by randomly drawing a piece of paper and including that noun in their sentence which began, "Once upon a time...".  The next person drew another slip of paper and added to the story by adding another sentence including the new noun.  The final story was often very strange!

Architecture

The Pantheon--a giant egg?
Most of the classes continued their exploration of the influence of geology on ancient architecture.  We learned about the advances of the ancient romans due to their access to volcanic ash and volcanic rocks.  They were able to make mortar using ash and lime and later they invented concrete by adding rock fragments to the mortar.  Concrete had many advantages as a building material.  We also looked at the the benefits of the arch and the dome, which the Romans used extensively and usually built using concrete.  In particular we learned about the amazing Pantheon!  It's dome has a diameter of 43 meters and for 1000 years was the largest dome of its kind.  It was built using a variety of volcanic rocks of varying density in the concrete: basalt for the bottom parts of the structure, tuff a bit higher up and extremely lightweight pumice in the concrete of the dome itself.

To further reinforce the idea that domes are very strong we did an activity with a raw egg.  The students were challenged to hold the egg in their palm, wrap their fingers around the egg and squeeze really really hard.  No one was able to break the egg!  Although the Penticton primary group hasn't tried this activity yet, so who knows, perhaps one of them has the strength to do it!

Scratch Programming

Part of the Penticton primary class coding away.
All of the classes continued learning more about computer programming using Scratch.  Some of the students did the activity Debug It! where they were asked to debug 5 scratch programs that weren't working as they should.  Other classes learned how to create code to reset their programs (e.g. if they create a character who walks across the screen, the next time the program runs they need to make sure the character starts from the correct starting point again).  They also learned how to make one sprite (character) respond to another by using the 'broadcast message' and 'when I receive message' blocks.  Some of the students used these skills to program conversations between characters.  Below are a couple of examples of student programs involving conversations between sprites.

video
By Finn.

video
By Ellen.

  All of the students are creating interesting programs and they are very enthusiastic about using Scratch!

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