Does THIS help my students? I hope so…

The day before any break is always a tricky day for teachers. Some handle these days by showing movies, some keep on plowing through material, some reviewing previous material, and some enrich or extend the material. Hopefully the following activities have educational benefits. If not, at least I’m not showing a movie.

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives gave us our activity for math. Ladybug Mazes from the geometry section. The Ladybug Maze is really a very simple programming exercise. A ladybug has to travel through a maze and you decide where it goes by telling it to go forwards or backwards and when to turn.

maze1

MOST (I will get to this at the end of the post) of the students loved it. That might not be the most important thing, but it does count.

Math was taken care of, now what to do with science? What did we do?

Fantastic Contraption (Disclaimer: I can’t click on that link and leave the site within 30 minutes.)

fantastic-contraption

For those unfamiliar with this game, you have to move the pink wheel on the left to the big pink square on the right. Your tools are wheels that turn both ways and axles. Get as creative as you want in solving the puzzles, but some can be solved in very elementary ways. My science students absolutely loved this today. Even had two teachers say “I don’t know what you did in science today, but the students loved it”. At least I have somebody convinced.

Earlier I had mentioned that most of my students loved the maze activity, any guesses on the two students that did not enjoy it all? My two highest achieving students in math. No lie. They know their math facts from any direction. They have learned anything new I have taught this year. They are also terrified of getting the wrong answer. After seeing their disgusted reaction with this activity, I couldn’t help but think of the Red/Green Knowledge post from dy/dan. These two students are red knowledge All-Stars. But, they were so distraught after not having the answer right away, they could not figure out the mistakes in their program. Some of my lower achieving students had zero problems with the maze, it was a video game to them. They had no problems seeing where the ladybug needed to go and how to get it there.

Result: Pushed my top students out of their comfort zone and allowed some of my lower achieving students a chance to shine. Success, right?

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