Sunday, January 25, 2015

5th Grade Explains it All - Vertebrates Project

We kicked off the new year with a few new apps in 5th grade. (Catch up on my other iPad posts here) I've been anxious to use the app Explain Everything with my students since downloading it myself back in August. One of the (many) things that intrigued me about Explain Everything was the functionality - I could use it as a teaching tool and my students can create projects as well. 

As our first Explain Everything production, I decided to introduce the tool during my science classes (I have three sessions this year!). Mastering the five classes of vertebrates is a big deal in 5th grade and I thought it would be great - and equally fun - to introduce Explain Everything with this unit. 

My requirements for the project were the following:
Name the 5 classes of vertebrates
Provide three living examples of each vertebrate
Identify three characteristics of each vertebrate

From there.. the sky was the limit!

I strongly believe what made this project so successful (and fun.. have I mentioned how much my kids loved it?) was the intense app tutorial I provided on day one. I justified spending more time on introducing the app to eliminate confusion and frustration for the rest of the year. I simply introduced all of the features and walked through different samples with the kids. This way, they would spend more time focusing on the content of their project and not playing with the lightsaber feature. (Can you tell we had to spend time playing with the lightsaber?)

Once the kids started working on their project... they were ALL IN. Within 10 minutes, my students were showing ME the features I hadn't figured out yet. Pretty incredible! 

I anticipate our next encounter with Explain Everything will not be as elaborate. I want students to see the app as tool to demonstrate their understanding of multiple content areas. I'm excited to see what else we create this year!

Curious to see some of our projects? Check out our playlist on YouTube! (P.S. Creating a playlist was a great and easy way to share our projects with families!) 

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