Teaching Tech at my Summer Academy


This past January I got the strange idea to start a Summer Academy at my elementary school, I wanted a chance to step outside of the regular curriculum and do something different with my students -- take some chances. It wasn't long before I had my principal on board and the wheels were in motion.

The first thing I had to do was to decide what courses I was going to offer, I remember my mind filling with cool, new and techie ideas. Today I would like to tell you about two of them...

LEGO Animation: I did a little research online and it turns out that this is a really big thing with a lot of people -- there are websites dedicated to this so it was easy for me to get up to speed with the art of stop-frame animation. I then went to Toy-R-Us and picked up the LEGO series called Pharaoh's Quest (6 different sets) because it looked fun and I felt that we could come up with a great "Indiana Jones" type of a story for my students to tell. I then built 4 sets to be used for filming, painted some back-drops and bought the software called SAM Animation.

LEGO Mayan Adventure: this course I based on the book with the same title by James Floyd Kelly. His book follows the story of a boy named Evan who is with his uncle at an archeology dig site. The book has different challenges to solve with LEGO NXT robots to get to the next level of the Mayan temple. To do this right I took a trip to my local lumber yard and ended up building some sets for these challenges, I then painted them to look authentic so that my students would really get into the story.

The Summer Academy starts next Monday, so I will take lots of photos and keep you posted on how my students do. I am excited about the possibilities of the 21st century skills that my students will gain from these courses. Besides, how can you beat playing with LEGOs all day?