Noise Exposure

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

We wrote about a Decibel meter App which measures noise level in decibel before. Noise Exposure is another App that measures the noise level in decibel. Noise Exposure has a simpler user interface than Decibel meter thus can easily be used with primary school pupils. An advantage is that you can save and share measurements. This makes it easier to register and compare measurements.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 8 or higher
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Video Science

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

Video Science produced by by Science House offers a large number of short videos on experiments. The videos focus mainly on chemistry, but some videos are about phenomena from physics or other science areas.
Students can watch the video’s or carry out the experiments themselves., although some experiments require substances or equipment that will not be readily available. For you as a teacher the videos may inspire you to let show students the experiments. Of course it is even more more interesting and instructive if the students carry out experiments themselves in class.

The future for industry and society lies in recycling, and even a step further ahead in cyclic production, and cradle-to-cradle production. Particularly interesting are therefore experiments such as “Green plastic” and “Recycling paper”.

The latest App (version 4.0) is designed for iOS 6. Unfortunately the App does not work on iOS 11. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 6  (not working on iOS11 !)

Train your Phrases Verbs

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

This time we write about an App that may be useful for learners of English as a second language. The App The Phrasal Verbs Machine (Cambridge University Press) enables non-native speakers to learn and train the use of Phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are two part verbs. They consist of a verb + an article and or preposition. The article/preposition often changes the meaning of the verb. Read more on the Brititsh Council website and on wikipedia.
The latest version supports 17 different languages, which means that the phrase is translated and the explanation is given in that particular language. The App has a strong visual component with a short animation showing the meaning of the phrasal verb. A disadvantage is that more advanced students of the English language will quickly master all the 100 phrasal verbs.

Examples:

  • run into
  • look after
  • dress down
  • hand in
  • look forward to

Screendump of the viewing part
 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Android tablet and smartphone
 Requirements  iOS 6 or higher version,  Android 2.2 or higher

What weighs most/least?

Using a balance scale

An activity within DaVinci Kindergarten for children age 4 to 8. In this activity children work with a balance scale. They experiment with the objects and the balance scale.
For example tasks like:

  • Place one item in one of the scales (containers) and find out how you can get the scale in balance.
  • Find out how many woorden blocks (or any other available unit of measurement) you need an item.
  • You get three items. Place them in order from lightest to heaviest.  (They may use the blocks, but they can also work it out without using the unit of measurement.)

Concepts
measuring, weight, the use of scales, creating your own units of measurement, volume, quantity, counting.

Vocabulary
balance, in balance, out of balance, scale, the same weight, more, less, heavier, heaviest, lighter, lightest in weight, equal in weight.

Remarks
It is important that children get experience through hands-on measuring and weighing tasks. This way they will be able to cope with tasks like Balancing Act at an older age (10-12).
The activity was challenging and accessible for four an five year old kids. It turned out that the activity required a lot of counting (the blocks), but this posed no problem.

Make sure you test the weight of the items you use before the activity. We chose an apple, a banana, and an onion and tested if they could be measured using the wooden blocks. Make sure your unit of measurement does not exceed the counting ability of your pupils.
One kindergarten turned out to have small plastic bears in three sizes that could be used as a more precise unit of measurement than the wooden blocks.

DaVinci Kindergarten

DaVinci Kindergarten is a pilot project in which we design, develop and try-out inquiry-based activities for children in the age 4-8. We have worked with children age 4-5 at two kindergartens in Norway. The activities focus on concepts from science, and technology and foster mathematical thinking.

We present some of the activities that have been developped. Contact us if you wish a complete description of the activity.

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  1. Show-box– sight lines and mirroring.
  2. How big is the panther? – measuring, human-based measuring units e.g. foot, thumb(=duym/inch), span (=fathom), step.
  3. How do you get the light on? – electricity, battery, light, lightbulb, lamp, electrical wire, curcuit.
  4. What weighs most/least? – experimenting with balance scales and different materials with the same volume and different weight.
  5. Discover more about your toys. What kind of materials are they made of? – Categorise, recognise, examine the different materials and discover their characteristics.
  6. Bee-bot – programming a robot.

How big is the panther?

Another activity for children age 4-8. This inquiry-based activity involves measuring up a big animal. The children will draw a big animal in its actual size, but the animal is in another room than where the animal must be drawn. Two children are sent to look at the animal and asked to come back and describe the animal. This process is repeated with the question to find out how big the animal is so that it can be drawn on the large sheet of paper.

Concepts
measuring, measuring units, human based measuring units, measuring tools, categorizing, ordering, serializing, relative size, proportionality, counting, member of the ‘cat’ family.

Vocabulary
size, height, width, big-bigger-biggest, large- larger-largest, small- smaller- smallest, thick, order, position, direction, shape, fur, skin, colour, tail, (girth).

Background
The world for young children is primarily three dimensional. Young kids play with three dimensinal toys. A drawing or a picture is a two dimensional representation of objects from the three dimensional world and therefor more difficult to grasp.

Measuring starts with the use of measuring units that are available. People have used measuring units related to their own body to measure length or height over many centuries e.g. foot, fathom/span, thumb/inch.

Show-box and Sight lines

This time we write about inquiry-based science and math activities we tried out in kindergarten, but this is definitely suitable for first and second grade as well. The first activity is about experimenting with sight lines using a show-box.

Concepts: sight lines, mirror, reflection.

Vocabulary: in sight, out of sight, hidden, position, sight line, eye, straight line, corner, behind, in front of, next to, around the bend …

The children worked in groups of three or four children (age 4 and 5) on one show-box. First, the children are presented with an empty show-box with four spy-holes. They are asked to furnish the room and place some dolls/animals using items they have in class. Thereafter we ask them explore what they see and what not and reason about it. We ask them to look through their spy-hole and tell each other what they see. We ask them why they do not see the same items.

There are many questions to ask that require experimenting, thinking and reasoning.
For example:

  • Can you place an item so that this can only be seen from one spy-hole?
  • Can you position an item that can be viewed from just two, three, or from all the four spy-holes?
  • Can you place an item in such a way that it cannot be viewed by anyone?
  • Build a half wall and place an item behind the wall. Choose a hole from which you cannot see the item. Now use the mirror so that you can see what is behind the wall.
  • One child take a picture though one of the holes while the other turn their back. Show the picture ans ask from which hole it was taken and why they thinks so.