Mobile Carts

Chadron Intermediate is fortunate enough to have access to a mobile computer cart with 24 Dell laptops and the students are pretty excited to start using them!  We have been able to make sure the students know how to properly use the carts and make sure the computers get plugged in to recharge as well as trouble shooting some common issues with the laptops (the wifi switch gets bumped off about 40% of the time).

It has been great to see our teachers embrace the mobile lab and have the students use them as part of the normal class day.  Fourth grade is currently working on research projects and using a variety of sources to conduct research.  The carts have allowed me to enter the classroom and work alongside the class teachers to assist them and help the students in the process.  I was able to work with Mrs. Piercy's class in the computer lab and walk down the hall to help Mrs. Anderson's class on the laptops with their research.  (The Aerohive wireless access points installed by out Tech Coordinators have helped out immensely as well as each classroom can now handle 100 wireless devices at a time.)

Fourth grade is currently researching animals, and between time in the computer lab and time in their classrooms, we were able to discuss using search tips to help refine searches and also discussing how to read through search results to find relevant information.

Skype to Florida

This morning my students were able to skype with Ms. Heisner's class from Citrus Springs, Florida and I think it provided a little bit of culture shock to my students.  We had snow on the ground and they were looking at a high of almost 80 degrees for the day! 

Mystery Skypes are great and I always give my students a map to cross out states or take notes on as we talk, and it is always interesting to see how they end up guessing our mystery state.  We also found out they have hurricanes, grow a lot of oranges and have panthers and alligators in the wild.  Interestingly enough, we found out that Chadron has about the same number of people as Citrus Springs too.  The students loved chatting via Skype and we have a few more lined up before the end of the year.

Soda Straw Rockets

I saw this great link on Twitter that came from @NASA awhile back that showcased using Soda Straw rockets and graphing in the classroom and I immediately jumped on the connection between teaching something necessary (graphing) and having a fun way (rockets) for students to collect data in the process.
We used the templates and modified them for students use and to help save paper.  You can download our rocket templates here.  Original template here.  Modified Template here.  Bonus rocket activity here.

The students used the rockets from the modified template and colored their rockets, cut them out, taped them together and prepared them for flight.  We also had to collect a few dozen tape measures to measure flights to the nearest inch.  We also found we needed a large empty space (we ended up using the gym) as rockets were flying everywhere and it got a little loud.  At the end we also ended up having a shootout to see who had the rocket with the longest flight distance.

Now that the students have their data for their flights we are going to graph their results on the computer using the NCES website and compile all student data via Google forms to allow us to graph, compare mean, median & mode, and create some pretty cool graphs and look at data in real time.  Once students have everything complete, we will blog about our results and share with the world!

World Education Games 2013

We are officially underway with the 2013 World Education Games!

The World Education Games is an annual global online challenge to get all students (4-18 years of age) excited about learning, and to give the top students in all schools an opportunity to see how they measure up against the best in the world. Last year, over 5 million students were a part of what is now the world’s largest online education event.

The World Education Games are completely free to register for and participate in.

Split over three days and focussing on literacy, mathematics and science, the World Education Games is a hugely exciting and engaging way to promote learning and education across the world.  Partners UNICEF and Samsung work with to promote the key messages of education for all. 

Monday, March 5th is World Literacy Day.
Tuesday, March 6th is World Math Day.
Wednesday, March 7th is World Science Day.

The kids have been practicing and we will be competing through the next few days!  They should all have their login information, but if your student is missing theirs, email me (brandon.horst @ or call the school and we can send you their information.

Want to see a student answering facts in real time?  Here is Jasmine competing in the math competition.  Her best score was 49 questions in 60 seconds!  Great Job!