Third graders at Laburnum Elementary have been learning how to round numbers to the nearest ten and hundred (SOL3.1b) so today I showed the students in Ms. Collins’ and Ms. Ford’s classes how to make a rounding calculator. First, for a warm-up activity, we went to Google classroom and I posted an announcement that said, “What is a number that will round to 40?” The students clicked “Add comment” and posted their ideas (any number between 35-44). Next I asked them if they thought computers could round faster than they could. We discussed that even though computers are faster than humans, they aren’t smarter. People have to program computers, and today, I explained, we were going to program the computer to round for us. I gave them a template that you are welcome to copy (a finished sample is on Sheet 2). First they could write whatever 2- or 3-digit numbers they wanted down column A. I told them to try to make it hard for the computer. Next in cell B2 we wrote the rounding formula =ROUND(A2,-1) which rounds the number in cell A1 to the tens place (the -1 means one place to the right of the decimal). Then I showed them how to drag the little blue square in the corner of B2 down through the rest of column B. It automatically rounded all the numbers in column A! Finally I asked them to figure out and test a formula in C2 that would round A2 to the nearest hundred. Many of them realized that it was =ROUND(A2,-2). If you have time, you could go on and write a formula that would round the numbers in column A to the nearest thousand.
Third graders at Holladay have been learning about number patterns (SOL3.19) so today I taught them how to create and solve their own number patterns using Google spreadsheets. First I gave them a spreadsheet template that you can copy here. There is a finished sample on Sheet 2 of the template with directions for your reference. The students entered a 2-digit number in the top blue box, and it is automatically entered into the green boxes. Then the students enter a number they want to repeatedly add to it and a number they want to repeatedly subtract from it. The pattern is instantly generated by a formula in the spreadsheet, but I wanted to teach them how to create their own formula. So in the purple cell next to the last green box (C4), they entered whatever pattern they wanted to show, using the basic formula =C4+? or =C4-? I showed them how to drag the tiny blue square in the bottom corner of the box across the other purple cells to create the repeating pattern. Finally they switched seats and tried to figure out each others’ patterns by typing “Add” or “Subtract” in the red box and the number in the orange box. The spreadsheet lets them know if they are right or wrong.
Fifth graders at Holladay Elementary have been studying the ocean (SOL5.6) in science, and they have been learning about line graphs in math (SOL5.15). So today Ms. Haislip’s students made line graphs of the Ocean Floor. First we had to collect our data. I showed them how they could use Google Earth to find the ocean depth at various spots. The goal was to take measurements at different places (the continental shelf, the continental slope, the continental rise, the abyssal plain, a sea mount, and a trench), and then enter that data into our spreadsheet. To save time, different groups of students could find a specific feature and share that measurement with the class. Next we opened a Google spreadsheet and wrote down the different features in the first column. We entered the depths in the second column. I explained that they would need to duplicate some of the measurements so that we would have a couple of points to plot (for example, the abyssal plain would need at least 2 equal points in order to make a straight line). Then I showed them how to make a line graph out of the data (it was actually an area graph so that it could be filled in with a color). I let them figure out how to adjust the data so that the resulting graph looked like the ocean floor. They learned the difference between negative and positive numbers very quickly! The final step was to customize the color and size and publish their graphs. I took screenshots using the snipping tool and posted them to CoMemories (which is a quick and easy way to share pictures). You can see their graphs here.
Fourth graders at Davis Elementary are learning about data collection and graphs (SOL4.14), so today, Ms. White’s students collected data from their classmates using Google forms. They chose a topic of interest to them and selected their own Google form template. Then they wrote their question, such as “What is your favorite thing to read?” or “Who is your favorite singer?” and provided four choices. I showed them how to load the live form, then they traveled around the room completing each others’ forms. At the end of the process, each student had between 16-20 responses. Now it was time to do some data analysis. They looked at the Google spreadsheet with the responses and counted the votes for each choice. Next they added that information to their spreadsheet and graphed the results. I showed them how to customize the fonts, colors, and labels of the graph. You can see all their graphs and forms by clicking here.
Fifth graders at Davis Elementary are currently studying rocks and the rock cycle in science (SOL5.7a,b). Today Ms. Elsea’s students created Google slideshows with animations to share what they have learned. First they logged into their Google accounts and created a Google slideshow document. I showed them how to customize their slides in a variety of ways: they could change the template or background color, change the font, size, and color, or even use a photo as the background image (some students really liked that). Next they created several slides showing the different types of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary), examples of each, and a diagram of the rock cycle. They added photos using Insert > Image > Search. Some students also created their own rock cycle diagram using shapes like Breana. The last step was to add transitions and animations to the slides. I pointed out that those special effects add a unique feature that regular documents don’t have, which is the ability to engage their viewers. For example, a picture of the rock can appear first, and the viewer can guess what type of rock it is before the answer appears. Or the viewer can try to guess the next step in the rock cycle before it appears. You can take a look at all their slideshows here (and here are some from a similar lesson I taught at Holladay).
Fifth graders at Laburnum Elementary have been learning about the distributive property of multiplication (SOL5.19), and today students in Ms. Conway’s class broke the process down into its steps using a spreadsheet. First they logged into Google classroom and I gave them a template to get started. I explained that formulas are what computer programmers use to solve math problems quickly. Formulas also give students practice with using variables, another 5th grade math concept (SOL5.18). So they started by typing a variety of 2-digit and 1-digit numbers into columns A & C. It didn’t matter which cell they typed the 2-digit or 1-digit numbers, and I told them to mix them up. All the rest of the cells would be filled in automatically by our formulas. The first formula in column E would identify which of the two numbers was the 1-digit number. I helped the students figure out that the formula would be =IF(A1
Today students in Ms. Wells’ class at Varina Elementary learned how to write some basic computer code for calculating place value (SOL3.1). They logged into Google classroom and I gave them a template to get started. I already entered most of the formulas into the template, but I wanted the students to experience writing some formulas as well. I explained that some of them may grow up to write computer codes for designing games and apps, and they would need to know how to write formulas. Plus formulas are fun! First they wrote any 4 digit number that they wanted in cell B1. The spreadsheet automatically separates the number into its digits in the following cells. Underneath each digit the students wrote a formula to show that digit’s value. For example, if an 8 was in the hundreds place and it was in cell D1, their formula would be =D1*100 to get 800. Using cell references (D1) instead of the actual number (8) allows the students to enter new 4-digit numbers into B1 without changing their formulas. So the students are also getting exposed to the idea of variables. Finally, they answer a couple of place value questions that I created, then they create their own question for a neighbor to answer. If you would like to use the template with your class, just open the template and click File > Make a copy. There is a finished sample for your reference on Sheet 2 of the template.
This year, with the new Dells and new log in procedures, I am encouraging my teachers to use Google classroom. Since all Henrico students have Google accounts now, it provides a great way for them to share their work. Today I showed Ms. Crostic’s class at Holladay how to log into Google classroom and work on their first Google doc (online word processing). My focus this year is on math and writing, so I decided to combine some writing with ordinal numbers (SOL2.2), which is what they are currently studying in math. First I instructed them to search for a picture of a group of objects and insert it into their document (Insert > Image > Search). We discovered that it was better to type the words “line of…” instead of “group of…” when doing the search so we could get an orderly group for identifying the ordinal numbers. After they got their pictures, they wrote questions for a partner to answer such as “Which car is red? What color candy is 6th?” I showed them how to change the font size and color, and we discussed the importance of using capital letters and question marks. Then they switched seats and answered each others’ questions in a different color. Since all their work was posted to Google classroom, Ms. Crostic had a quick and easy way to access them. You can see some student examples here.
First graders in Ms. Gerrard’s class at Davis Elementary have been studying different types of motion: straight, circular, pushing, pulling, vibrating, and back and forth motions. Animations are a great way to show motion! Today we used ABCYa! Animate to illustrate different motions. I instructed the students to pick a motion and to try to make it unique, something the other students in the class wouldn’t think of doing. Then they started drawing the first scene. I showed them how to duplicate it several times with the Copy Cat button to slow down the animation. Then they changed the image slightly to show the type of motion they were trying to display and duplicated that several times as well. Since it’s a loop, the motion just continues through the two different images and it looks like constant motion. They saved it as a GIF file, and I published them all to a Google Doc that you can see here. As you can see, Ms. Gerrard’s first graders did a great job being creative and sharing unique types of motion!
Today I tried out two new web tools with Ms. Edmond’s first graders at Holladay Elementary. She’s always willing to try new things! They have been learning about fact families in math (SOL1.5) so we illustrated some fact families with QuikSlides and SketchToy. I like both of these sites a lot because they are easy to use and don’t require a login. QuikSlides is a way to make a simple slideshow. You can change the font and color of the slides and even link to online images and videos. You can also set a password so you can go back and edit your slideshow later. The slideshows can be viewed online with any device including the iPads! The students made a new slide for each of the four members of the fact family that they wanted to show. You can see their slideshows by clicking here. Next we created animated illustrations of those fact families using SketchToy. With SketchToy you can draw pictures and then watch an animated replay of your drawing. The students especially liked how they could adjust the vibration of the lines. The students drew a picture showing the number of objects in their fact families and then wrote out the corresponding addition and subtraction equations. I instructed them to make the color of the objects match the numbers. Most of them did a great job following directions. I put all their links together into a Google doc that you can check out here: