Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weather Instruments: Creating eBooks in 2nd/3rd Science

2nd and 3rd graders in Ms. Mather's Science class at Lynch Public School have been becoming weather experts. They decided to show what they have learned about scientific instruments by creating eBooks with one of my favorite apps: Book Creator. Here is a simple overview of their successful iPad learning adventure as well as easy extension ideas for additional application.

Photographing the weather while staying warm!

Building Background Knowledge

  • Ms. Mather and her class learned about Weather.  Some great digital resources include "Weather" from World Book Kids and several videos from Learn 360 - both available through your ESU 8 Media Center access. 
  • Ms. Mather decided that "weather instruments" would be a good focus and structure for the students' digital project.
  • Each student created a paper book detailed 8 scientific instruments used to study weather. Each page included the instrument name, picture, and student-created sentence.

Book Creator Basics

  • I shared an example of a student-authored Book Creator book, "A Dream Come True" (by Drew and Claire Morrow)
  • Then I showed them how to get started with a new Book Creator project and we discussed opportunities for creative content to go into their pages. 

Weather Examples in iBooks

  • Next we looked at a couple of published examples by students in the iBooks Store including:

Creation Process

  • Students quickly and easily navigated to the Book Creator app on their iPads and got started. Even with the free version of the app, students can completely author and publish one entire book.  Plans to upgrade to the $4.99 paid version were quickly made and easily jus
  • tified for future projects. 
  • Each page followed a pattern, and every page had a plan (in the students' paper books) and so students could concentrate on the creative side of publishing, maximizing their technology time.
  • For each page's images, students could choose whether to draw the weather instrument, take a photo using their iPad's camera, or find a photograph of the instrument online.  Students were encouraged to use for copyright-friendly images for their books. 
  • iPads allowed for differentiation.  Some students were encouraged to add in a page about each weather instrument with either a photo or video of the student using it. 
  • All students were encouraged to record all of their book's sentences as audio recordings on each page.  We discussed how valuable this would be for someone who is blind, who doesn't yet know how to read, or even for guests at an upcoming technology fair.
Students excited to discover scientific instruments emojis!

Decisions for Delivery

  • Format (individual or group-authored)
  • Topics (jigsaw ideas, common outline, uniform topics)
  • Required Components (text + audio recordings of all text, photos or drawings, video)
  • Title (and covers)

Extension Options

  • Along with the students' study of weather instruments, this project would work well with creating a class weather forecast (using iMovie or DoInk and a green screen).
  • A global learning opportunity would be to ask each student to survey and collect data/images of the weather around the world.  After analyzing or mapping the results students could explain what they learned in their digital books.
  • Obviously, any topic could easily be interchanged with "weather" and used for an equally successful project.
  • Transfer of analog to digital
  • Don't underestimate the power of publishing to the iBooks Store.  Although these students plan to share within their school community and with the guests who come to their Technology Fair, they could also elevate their work to a global audience by leveraging the iBooks Store platform.
The weather kindly cooperated by gently snowing making for some great images for the students' books

What is the weather like in your part of the world? Using Google Earth

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