Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Using Technology (or: an excuse to eat in class)

In an "effort" to take advantage of the technology I have available to me... no, scratch that.

In an effort to make a 3hr long night lecture on geology less mundane, I am constantly trying to come up with interactive activities for my surprisingly willing students to partake in.
Monday of this week was a lecture on weathering, soil and sedimentary rocks. I decided that a good way for the students to put it all together was to build a "sedimentary sandwich". We have these video projector devices (elmo document cameras) in some of our classes that are "more than your average overhead projector". Since they have a camera, you can do more things with them than just put a 2D diagram (or text for heavens sake) on the big screen. Read more about elmo here. See a picture of elmo here.

So back to my sedimentary sandwich. I built a sandwich, using different food stuffs to represent different sediment types, and we told a story of sedimentary environments together as a class. Then I made them draw it and write the story out for their future reference. Below are two examples (both by boys, and both receiving 5/5) of the two scenarios we mapped out. Clearly one of them is a better artist than the other...


The real reason I'm bringing this up is (well, because I made a comment on kilometres' blog actually) because my choice of sandwich ingredients - crunchy PB and honey being the main culprits - made for a very very messy situation. There I was, gooey hands in front of the document camera - on the big screen for everyone to see - and I had nothing to wipe them on. I had to lick my fingers, there was no choice at all... Even better of course, is that I was operating with PB and honey on a piece of expensive digital equipment. Not to worry, I had a paper plate underneath it all...

Next week is metamorphic rocks - I'm hoping no one minds if I iron on top of elmo.

2 comments:

Kilometres said...

This post rules me.

Thank you for ruling me.

My in-class assigments are clearly not this interesting. I just get people to stand and twirl their right leg in a clockwise direction while trying to sketch out the number 6 in the air. That's the coolest thing I do. And it's clearly nowhere near as cool as building sediment sandwiches in class - on an elmo no less!

And yes, I do know what an elmo is, though I will admit that I didn't know that was the name of the contraption. I was dinosauring it by calling it the projector thingy. The projector thingy that I don't have access too...

Though really, all I could do is perhaps show a running show on it. I can't see how I would use it to demonstrate motor learning. Motor learning of sandwich making perhaps?...

Heather said...

That one kid is a total neat freak. I've got to say, my lecture notes were always more along the lines of sketchy-scrawl contestant number one.
And I've just got the giggles trying to do the leg and sixes thing, Miles. Whee!