Monday, December 28, 2015

Coding Mania: Creating clubs for K-5 Kids

Last year I hosted my first Hour of Code.  It was a rather last minute thing for me to organize because I wasn't sure if I could pull it off and I wasn't sure there would be a lot of interest.  I scheduled our Hour of Code for a Friday afternoon (because who wants to stay after school on a Friday), reserved a lab for 25, sent out an email at lunch to parents with a Google Form signup -giving them a week's notice about the event. 

Thinking I wouldn't have a lot of interest because of the late notice and day, I was completely dumbfounded when I checked the registration form an hour and half later and discovered I had 51 kids signed up!  I only had 25 computers reserved!  I scrambled to find some volunteers to help me out and started lining up iPads to borrow from classrooms to supplement. 

The kids LOVED it, the volunteers loved it, and I had parents requesting more coding events.  The energy surrounding the Hour of Code was incredible, and while I wanted to do more to encourage that passion, at the end of last year the best I could offer time-wise was coding on recess and suggestions for Genius Hour projects, which many kids happily took me up on.

Fast forward to this year's back to school night

I filed the request for more coding opportunities away in the back of mind as something to work in for the 2015-2016 school year, but as I prepped for the year, I just wasn't seeing a lot of time opening up for it, until, on back to school night I was approached by three different girls in three different grade levels at separate times during the evening.  Unbeknownst to each other, they each had the same request for me: to start a girls' only coding club.

I was pretty flabbergasted.  "Why does the coding club only have to be for girls?" I asked one of them.  Her response: "Boys don't take it seriously like girls do". When another girl approached me, she explained she had signed up for the Hour of Code and then had left because there were too many boys and she felt intimidated.  When I asked another why she maybe didn't join STLP - our technology club, she said it was a "boy thing", and she thought coding could be a "girl thing".  

I began to think back to working with a Raspberry Pi last year.  The group who excelled with it were a group of girls who really paid attention to the details of writing the code to make different features, like a camera, work.  I realized that the girls may have a real need to explore an interest in the company of other girls, and I knew I had to figure out a way to honor that request. 

Part of the issue for me was considering the boys.  I couldn't justify having a girls only coding club and not offer something for boys - especially when the boys have already been grumbling about not having a Boys on the Run club like the Girls on the Run, and the boys have shown a considerable amount of interest in coding.

A Coding Club Plan Comes Together

Time is never on my side, but I settled on creating three clubs for K-5 kids of 23 students.  They each run once a month. We have a girls only club, boys only club and an "everyone" club.  In truth, I expected with offering that many "clubs" that I would have limited sign ups; however, I was yet again surprised by the outpouring of interest.  I had to shut down signups for boys and everyone clubs after about two hours and start a wait list. 

I have a wide variety of age levels and ability levels in these clubs with a respectable group of kindergartners and first graders with varying reading abilities.  Obviously this provides me with quite a challenge.  There are moments where I wonder if I should have limited the club sign ups to older students who can read, but ultimately I feel so strongly in providing all students with the opportunity to cultivate an interest and learn something new as a result of that interest that I just can't bring myself to limiting it.

I group the kids in the lab by grade level so that I can help them in small groups if needed. The kindergartners do require a little more attention at times, but I'm always surprised by how quickly they pick things up - even with their limited reading ability.

Even though clubs only get to meet once a month right now, I am so glad I split it up.  When the girls are coding, the energy is so different.  They are so quiet in contrast to the boys who are often more competitive and a lot more raucous, I can see now why the girls felt intimidated or had the impression that the boys weren't taking coding seriously (although, they are actually taking it very seriously). 

Coding Resources I Couldn't Do Without

To get kids a base of experience, I created classes in Code Studio.  My kindergarten and first graders are working through Course 1, and the rest are in Course 2.  I do give them the option to work through the course work at home, but many of the kids enjoy working through the challenges together during club time. is a great place to start
Since I am working with a variety of age and ability levels in each club, has provided me sanity-saving, age and ability appropriate coursework.  The coursework is, right now (and hopefully will continue be), entirely free.  

As a teacher I can set up classes of students - with only their first names & last initial and assign them appropriate coursework.  Students in older grades are randomly assigned passphrases and students in kindergarten and first grade are assigned a picture for their password.  

I was really worried I would have to read information to students in kindergarten, but Course 1 is excellent for developing readers and includes short video introduction to concepts, picture based programming, and it even begins by having students practice key concepts like mouse skills and drag and drop. 

Cards are available for download from Scratch
Once kids finish up with the assigned course, I plan to introduce students to Scratch and some of the different challenges that are available.  I think the Scratch Cards will be the perfect way to do this. 

ScratchED also has a pretty extensive curriculum available in the draft format and covers a wide variety of skills and interests including:  arts, stories and games. 

For my kindergartners I hope to use some of the other websites, like Tynker and apps like ScratchJR and as they build reading skills I hope to move them into the more advanced coursework on

Book resources that I have dug into some that I think will also be helpful for coming up with projects for the kids once they finish their coursework in are Help your Kids with Computer Programming - DK Publishing, which covers things like Scratch and basics of Python (which could help out with future Rasperry Pi projects) and  Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Guide to Programming with Games, Art, Science and Math by Majed Maji.

Where I hope we end up with this

Now that we have started, I really hope that as kids gain skills they can begin working on more involved projects that relate to their particular interests.  I will encourage them to use Scratch and are some really great project ideas presented in Made with Code and through students can branch out based on their interests and create stories, games and art.

Additionally, I have hopes that we can branch out into coding with different types of robots so that kids can see a more physical representation of code that they are writing.

Ultimately, I really just want kids to have a place where they can explore their interests - and maybe a little more time to do it! 


Self Checkout - or why didn't I set this up sooner?

For years I've been hearing about librarians who have a self-checkout station for their students to use, and while I always thought that sounded like a good idea, I never really could get it together enough to set one up.  When I thought about it, it just didn't seem like something that would work in my space.  We only have five student workstations, and I couldn't justify commandeering one of those for checkout only. I use the computer at the circulation desk for both checkout and for my own teacher workstation, so having students check out on a computer where my work email may be up or where something I might be working on might be open, just sounded like too much of a hassle to manage. 

After having an after school coffee meet up with one of my local school library pals, and hearing that she used a self checkout system on her teacher machine that worked, I realized that I was being silly about the whole thing and just making excuses so that I didn't have to give up control.  I left our meeting with a fire lit under me and began to think about what I had available to me to use.


When our middle school went 1:1, I inherited a few Surface tablets.  The tablets are locked down pretty tight with no real way to customize them or add apps, and I haven't done much with them because it requires a lot of extra directions to get them working for our younger students. I realized that they would be perfect for creating a self-checkout and computer catalog stations. The surface tablets are very portable and small, so we are able to put them pretty much anywhere, and the kids can even carry the catalog tablets with them to the shelf to look for books if they need to.  I also had an extra scanner in the back office that we use when we're cataloging extra books that come in, so I didn't have to take the scanner from my desk - when we get backed up we can check out from the normal circulation desk computer and the Surface tablet.  (Seriously, with all this stuff available, I feel really foolish not having done this sooner).

Self checkout station in the library
Using the directions in Follett, I set up a "Checkout" patron that gives access to checkout books.  It's pretty restricted so that all they can do is checkout under this particular account. At the beginning of the day I log in to Destiny on the tablet using the "Checkout" credentials, and we're ready to go.

During their check out time, students in grades 2-5 are now able to self-serve checkout books.  Each student already has a library card that I print in Destiny using one of the standard patron reports, so all they have to do is scan their card and the school barcode.

Minor Issues

The checkout station does pose some problems for some students (just like I guess the self-checkout at the grocery store does for shoppers).  I do have to keep an eye on some classes and impulsive students who don't always stop to check to make sure their cards scanned or their books, but I would say overall there are not nearly as many mistakes as I would have expected.  I'm not super strict on allowing students tons of renewals or to checkout if they have a lost book so I do have a number of overrides per day that I have to assist students with, however, the benefits of being free from the circulation desk far outweigh the occasional override or mistaken checkout.

The Benefits

The biggest benefit of self-checkout for me is that it gets me out from behind the circulation desk, where I often feel trapped.  I no longer have to have groups that need to conference come stand by my desk while I'm scanning books in and out.  I'm actually free, for the most part to roam the library, monitor project progress, help kids troubleshoot and have meaningful conversations about work. With more focus these days on student growth goals, specifically having self-checkout frees up more of my time to collect data, make observations, give constructive feedback and monitor the growth that I was struggling to accomplish over a number of weeks.  

The place really almost runs itself at this point, and in my mind, that's not a bad situation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Screen Time, Social Media & Minecraft Mania - GET TALK

I'll be giving a GET (Guidance, Education and Technology) talk at my school about different aspects of technology.  I've compiled some research and resources to share with parents.  There is no way I can adequately cover these topics in a 30 minute session, but hopefully it will start some conversations that we can continue.

Hover over the Thinglink image below to check out some of the resources I've put together - or see it [here]

Friday, September 18, 2015

Makerspace on a Budget

When it comes to planning for and creating a makerspace in your library there is a lot to consider, beginning with the needs of your school community, budget and space concerns.  At the KLA/KASL 2015 Joint Conference I'll be sharing my experience with creating a makerspace on a budget.  Below you will find my slide show, and some suggested items that you might want to use as a starting point for stocking your makerspace.   

Be sure to check out KyMakes as a resource for sharing and curating ideas, especially those that are standards related, and for exploring a Symbaloo of maker related links and resources.

Makerspace On a Budget from hneltner

Makerspace on a Budget Thinglinked Handout 

Hover over the handout below to see links to some of my favorite resources and items. 

Fall 2015 - Sample Supply List

The list of items here is a really just for reference - it's not the perfect list, there's no such thing really - but it may get you thinking.  I did include links to items you might want to check into as a point of reference, but I would for sure shop around for the best deals.  It's best to think of this list as a resource versus a shopping list of things you have to get.  Some of the items here may work for you and many you may find no need for.  They're just some things that have worked well for my students.

Category Item Description Product View Possible Vendor Est Cost
Craft Items - Pick those that apply
Craft Crafts Colossal Barrel Assorted items School Specialty 60
Craft Origami School Pack of 500 School Specialty 23
Craft Craft Sticks Economy pack of 1000 School Specialty 8
Craft Marker Boards (Dry Erase) 6 - 2ft by 4ft (price ea $10) Home Depot 60
Craft Dry Erase Markers Black -2 set of 12 School Specialty 22
Craft Markers School Smart Pack of 400 School Specialty 84
Craft Construction Paper Roselle pack of 500 School Specialty 28
Craft Glue Sticks School Smart pack of 30 School Specialty 12
Craft  Scissors 12 pack blunt edge School Specialty 26
Electronics - Pick 2
Electronics Snap Circuits Discovery Kit with project directions Amazon 45
Electronics raspberry pi CanaKit Pi 2 -full kit includes storage box, wifi, and preloaded SD card Amazon 70
Electronics Makey-Makey Microcontroller Amazon 50
Engineering Pick 2
Engineering Goldiblox Builders Survival Kit Amazon 59
Engineering Knex Education Set Amazon 49
Engineering Legos Large Creative Brick Box Lego 60
Video Chromakey Drop Cloth 6x9 feet - you can also find this cheaper at your local fabric store, or if you have a permanent surface you can use you can buy paint in bright green - Behr Sparkling Apple, Amazon 21
Video/app Green Screen  DoInk iPad app iPad/iPhone iTunes 3
Video/app Lego Stop Action Lego Systems - iPad/iPhone iTunes 0


Saturday, September 12, 2015

PowerLunch: Voxer

During Tuesday's Power Lunch, teachers in my building will get a crash course on how to use Voxer to keep in touch with their team, and we'll brainstorm other uses.  We'll discuss basics such as how to use it and privacy settings. 

Scroll over the Thinglinked image below to see resources that include educator examples of use and a how to video. Below you will also find a Smore of the same resources with some additional comments.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New This Year: the 40 Book Challenge

After reading Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and getting to hear her speak a few years back, I felt inspired to challenge the students in my school a challenge of that nature.  It just took me awhile to wrap my head around how to accomplish such a task with a whole school.  

Facing Obstacles

I had two obstacles, in my mind, to overcome.  The first was coming up with a way to monitor reading logs for a whole school.  In The Book Whisperer, Miller describes the reading journals her students keep as a living, breathing, dynamic student record.  Students are recording information about books they want to read, books they are reading.  They write letters, thoughts, ideas.  For a classroom teacher this sounds like an incredible way to interact with texts.  

For a librarian like myself, working with a few hundred students, creating this kind of experience isn't quite a possibility.  I thought about using paper logs, but that seemed unreasonable, so as an experiment, I decided to create a Google Form for students to use to track their books. To help minimize error, and to help sort things, I set it up using branching logic so that students choose their teacher name, then they choose their own name, and finally they enter information for the book.

The form is easily accessible through either the library web page or the library app.

The second obstacle, and perhaps the most daunting in my mind was this: I taught high school English for 10 years, where I read stuff like Thoreau and Shakespeare. My experience with "kid lit" has come a long way in the last few years in the elementary library, but honestly, I haven't made enough time to read anything but professional blogs, tweets and books over the last few years, and my recommendations always start with "Well, a lot of kids are checking out ___".  

How embarrassing, right?  Faced with this understanding of myself, I had to give myself a stern talking to; I can only use the "I came to the elementary level late in the game" excuse for so long before it's just that: an excuse. It's time to pony up and get down to it and start reading, really reading.  So, what to do? Take the challenge myself of course.  

To hold myself accountable I am going to try to do two things.  I'm going to keep track of what I have read on my Goodreads account on a 40 Book Challenge shelf (not sure if the link will actually work), and I'm going to try to create short video reviews/recommendations (which in all honesty will probably be the first thing to go - I wish they had a messy hair filter).

The Power of Recommendations

I really think the recommendations are part of Miller's incredible success.  She hand picks books for kids, makes thoughtful recommendations, and completely "geeks out" in the coolest of ways over books with her kids.  She gives them interest inventories, arranges stacks of books.  In my mind they're all wrapped up like "brown paper packages tied together with string (these are a few of my favorite things)". I want to be able to do that too when I "grow up". And, taking the challenge myself is going to be the first big step to get me there.
One of my 5th grade teachers read The Book Whisperer this summer and vowed to become the teacher that places stacks of books on desks.  She gave the interest survey Miller uses, combed through the lists and started making stacks, and her kids are thrilled.  They're not just thrilled-  they're giddy.  Some of them have been exchanging books mid-week, something they never would've done last year.  This is huge, and it's a major testament of what taking a personal, vested interest in a kid's reading habits can accomplish in a short time frame. 

As for me, I'm taking a bit of a "fake it until I make it approach".  I spent some time this summer putting together another Google Form that uses branching logic. This time it asks students some questions about genre preferences and then provides a result that includes a visual of books they may be interested in and links to some Goodreads lists that I checked first. You can check the form out [here]. While the form is an ok tool - I kind of wish I had created a quiz similar to what is all over social media these days with the striking visuals. 

I introduced the whole idea of the 40 Book Challenge through our yearly introductory PowToon, where I go over the theme for the year and some of the big things we'll be doing.  I really tried to emphasize that for me, this year the 40 Book Challenge is really just about reading more with no judgement.  I told the kids they could read fiction or nonfiction, picture books or chapter books or a combination of all of it.  I myself will be reading quite a few picture books (although our guidance counselor, who is also taking the challenge on has assured me she won't be filling in with picture books :) )

Check out how I introduced it all here:

I followed that introduction up with a newsletter home to parents using Smore. I tried to highlight the benefits of independent reading and let them know that I asked students to create their own personal reading goal.  I had some very positive feedback from the information I shared with parents, which was exciting to me.

Where do I go from here?

As part of this initiative I really hope to spark some teacher interest and host a book study on The Book Whisperer either this year or nextThe real power in the 40 Book Challenge, in my mind, can come from the classroom, where teachers are making strong personal connections throughout the course of the year. I might have that opportunity with 25 "readers" across the entire school, but nothing can take the place of what a classroom teacher can draw out of their students.

I will find out soon enough if this is going to be a sustainable effort for me.  We are into our third week of school, and I'm only half way through reading my second book. I also need to figure out an authentic way to encourage students to add their books to the form since it's all voluntary at this point. 

When I introduced the idea of a 40 Book Challenge, I told kids that 40 books was my goal for them (really it's only about a book a week) - but then I asked them what their own goal was. I told them it was okay if it was under or over 40 books. I just wanted their personal goal to be a good fit for them.  I had kids who admitted to not reading anything really last year and telling me that their goal was to read 10.  I had others who are convinced they can read two or more books a week. I didn't judge or offer commentary, I just recorded those goals, and I really want to do something special to recognize kids who reach their own goal - be it 10 or 100.  I just hope it's more than last year.

I want to be careful about tying extrinsic rewards/prizes to achieving reading goals - personal or 40 book.  Much of the research I've read lately shows that kids don't really get much out of extrinsic rewards.  That being said, reaching goals is a big deal.  Right now I'm thinking about doing something like a button, or a postcard (who doesn't want to get mail right?!) or maybe even just a shout out on the morning announcements.  I'm struggling a bit here, but I think I have a few weeks more before I have to start dishing out the big kudos...

To date, we have 248 books entered on the form. The results aren't being recorded exactly like I thought they would be, so I may need to tweak the results sheet some to make it readable.  I will also need to figure out a way to easily share the results with teachers and students each month so they can keep track of their progress.  This is something I really couldn't adequately test in advance, so I'm for sure learning as I go with the form.  I think the information I'm collecting and the goal setting could be something useful for next year in tracking reading progress - but more importantly reading preferences.  I'm really interested to see what titles the kids are reading that we don't have to help me figure out a way to grow our collection.  I know I could just as easily ask, but having it all on a spread sheet to look for trends might be an interesting piece of information.

I'll wrap things up here for now with the thought that this is all another learning in progress moment for me - and I'm interested to see what develops. 

If you do a 40 Book Challenge in your class or library, how do you structure it?  I would love to hear some ideas!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Crash Course: Creating an App for your Library

Here are some resources I'll be sharing via Thinglink at an upcoming professional development session at Northern Kentucky University.  Hover over the document below for links to other sources.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

NGSS Multimedia Resources FTIS PD Days 2015

Resources Organized by Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • Check out elementary level lessons and resources under general DCI arrangement [here]
  • Feel free to add you own ideas to the third column!

General Resources that can be used for NGSS Multimedia Lessons

The following websites can not only be used to find inspiration for NGSS lessons and investigations but to support other disciplines as well.

ACTIVITIES.pngThis is a subscription service that aligns with NGSS standards at the primary level.  If your school does not subscribe, talk to your librarian or building admin to purchase the subscription for you.  In addition to an Animals database that may be useful, you will want to for sure check out the Science database, which has “Earth and Space”, “Physical”, “Life” and “Science and Engineering Practices” as subtopics.  Each article has the ability to read the info to the student, includes important vocabulary, media of some sort. Under the “activity” feature, you can find a “share what you know” graphic organizer, a suggested investigation and questions for understanding.  

Use KYVL’s Research Frontier to help locate quality nonfiction articles to supplement your units or to help generate ideas/research for investigation. From school you do not need a username/password.  From home, you will need to log in. 

Tips for searching:
  • Searchasaurus (Purple planet) - limit your search results by lexile band to find info on your student’s reading level, choose magazine articles to find full articles from places like Scholastic News and National Geographic Explorer.  This one may be best to start with for primary. 
  • Grolier (Green planet- Scholastic GO) limit your search results by magazine to find articles from places like Appleseeds, Science World, Odyssey and Current Science.  Don’t miss the “Websites” tab where you can also find reputable websites to use.  This is a great format of database because it gives you an abstract to help preview the content.  Students had the most success with this database last year. 
  • EBSCO (Red planet) - articles here often have higher lexiles.  You can limit your search results to magazine or by publication to help narrow results and find things on student reading level, but this might be the last source you try as the content may be too difficult for many topics.    
KET Encyclomedia / Discovery Education

discovery education.png
If you do not have an account for KET Encyclomedia through your school info, you will need to set one up to use the service.  You can find various multimedia resources here including images, documents and video.  Search by:
  • keyword,
  • Standards -  click on  “Curriculum Standards Search” under the search box.  You can then “drill down” by grade level and specific standard. Standards that have content that may meet your needs will be highlighted in blue
When you locate a video clip or other media you find helpful, click the plus sign and this will add it to your “Quick List”.  You can use media from your quick list to assign to students or create lessons with Builder Tools.

You can set up classes and students in Discovery Education and use teacher tools to enrich your lessons.  This would be a good activity for the tech lab, a center that students rotate through or even for homework.
Builder Tools Available:
  • Assignment Builder create an assignment that includes standards, instructions, various media content from Discovery Media, links to outside sources and quizzes or writing prompts. 
  • Quiz Builder - create, share, modify quizzes related to media content 
  • Writing Prompt Builder - create writing prompts that include images or video that students must view and respond to - could be used as an assessment piece
  • Board Builder - curate content into “boards” based on topics - or have students create boards to help present information to a class
PBS Learning Media 

PBS Learning.png
PBS Learning Media is a collection of documents, video clips, images, interactives and web pages associated with all of your favorite PBS programming (including Curious George, NOVA, Zoom, Wild Kratz etc). Access the PBS Learning Media site through the KET Encyclomedia portal.  You do need to have a separate username/password for this and it is free to set up your account.  This is the same PBS Learning Media we use for professional development videos, so you should already have an account with your school email. Browse by:
  • Standards - currently they do not have NGSS listed as standards, although they do have Common Core standards and Program of Studies
  • Grade and Subject - this is the best option right now - choose your grade, then from the drop down menu on the left, choose from: Earth & Space, Engineering, Life Sciences and Physical Science
  • or Search with keywords
When you find content that you like select the heart and this will make the content available in your favorites to use with Tools, which can be accessed from the Dashboard.

Tools available:
  • Lesson Builder
  • Quiz Maker
  • Storyboard
These tools work in a similar fashion to Discovery Education.  Each of the components has a built in tutorial you can view and you can send students a link to the assignment (or create a QR code) or students can enter code for the assignment at a student login page.

 NGSS Specific Resources


Have the science standards at your fingertips. Download the app with all the standards from your device’s app store. The link will direct you to the app store for iOS, Android and Windows markets.


A team of teachers is working to curate quality lessons by standard.  Click on each standard and then scroll down to where it says “Resources and Lesson Plans” on the right side of the screen.  Some topics - chiefly under Earth and Space Science don’t have lessons yet - but check back often. 


The Concord Consortium
At the Concord Consortium you can "choose your path" through the NGSS.  Begin by selecting a core idea, then choose a practice, and one or more cross cutting concepts.  The activities provided should align with your selections. 

 Augmented Reality

Use Augmented Reality apps that contain 3D visuals and information to hook students into your science lesson.  Augmented Reality makes use of a "trigger image" or a physical image you must project or download and print and it overlays different forms of media, through the iPad and app onto that trigger.
Click on info in blue below to access links.
Download the app from your tablet or smart phone's app store, and print the trigger images from the website or create your own using the directions provided in the app.  Using the app students can see 3D models of a variety of animals and hear facts about the animal they are viewing.  Additionally, they can choose to view basic information about the animal such as weight and height, which could be recorded as practice for collecting data.

Elements 4D
Elements 4D uses blocks with different elements on them.  Print the blocks to use with the app [here]. When you scan the block with the Elements 4D app, you will see an augmented reality image of the element.  Place the element next to another one, and the app will show you the chemical reaction and formula. Check out the lesson plan that fit with 5-PS1-1

See it here:

Using this app, students can explore different body systems, in-depth, in 4D.  Currently you can access two different trigger images - one for the heart and one for the human body. Print the trigger/target handout from the app by emailing it to yourself, or access it from the website and save the image to print. Once you have the trigger image, open the app and scan the trigger image.  A model 4d model of the heart or human will appear. Students can choose from a menu to see different systems in isolation or as a group.  This would be a cool way to hook students into a lesson on life sciences (4-LS1-1).  

See it here:

Use this app to explore layers of the head from skin to muscles to respiratory system to the brain.  The layers of the brain are color coded, and as you touch each layer, the app gives you some basic information.  The app works with a trigger image, which can be downloaded and printed at Harmony [here].  Scroll down and look for the PDF.

It looks like the app has been updated since the demo video was made, but you can check out how the app works in general here: 

Spacecraft 3D is a NASA app that includes 3D renderings of various spacecraft, including Curiosity, Mars Odyssey, and Voyager, just to name a few.  You have to download the trigger/target image [here], or you can download it or email it through the app.  To use the app select a spacecraft, then scan the trigger/marker to interact with the 3D model.  By selecting info, you can learn information about the size, weight, use and history of the spacecraft.  An app such as this could be a good entry point into discussing engineering and modeling.  

Check out the video demo below to see how to use the app.


Learn how a jet engine works with AR Jet Engine.  Use the app to scan the trigger image, which can be found [here]. After you scan the image, slide the arrows at the bottom of the screen to show how the parts of the engine work together to operate.  Press the info button to learn more about Thrust,  Combustion and the History of the Jet Engine.

The Science AR app has two trigger images you can use - one to teach the water cycle and one for the earth.  Download the "trigger" images from the main page [here] and just double click on each image, then right click to save or print.  Each image has a few different triggers on it.  To see how they work, watch the video below.

The Amazing Space Journey app can be used as AR or as more of an interactive.  If you would like to use it as Augmented Reality, you'll need to download the Amazing Journey Board [here].  Use your fingers to navigate through space.  Pinch fingers together to zoom in closer to a planet, or double tap the planet or the "planet" menu at the bottom of the screen to view a planet or satellite.  Change the speed of time by double tapping the menu on the left side of the screen to view orbits.  Each planet/satellite has an information menu you can open to see distance from the sun, radius, rotation period, and orbital period. Check out the how to video on Vimeo [here].

The Dinosaurs Live app was used in conjunction with the Dinosaurs Live! Exhibit in Singapore at the Science Centre.  Could be used for 2-ESS1 "Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly" to examine the mass extinction of the dinosaurs or 3-LS4-1 to examine how fossils are used to draw conclusions about species long ago or 3-LS4-4 with environmental changes and how it changes plants and animals. On the app page [here] right click on the images of the dinosaurs and save and print them to be used with the app. 

To use the app simply choose "start" then swipe your fingers from side to side to navigate through the available dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Styracosaurus, Spinosaurus, Orintholestes.  Choose the camera icon to scan the corresponding trigger image and see it in 3D, press the "Learn more" icon to learn facts about the dinosaurs size and special features.

If you're on Twitter, be sure to search for #NGSSchat (which happens on Thursdays at 9pm est) and #NGSS to find ideas and discussion.

Be sure to follow these NGSS rockstars (click on the names below to see their Twitter profiles and to follow):