Rube Goldberg and grade 5 science

I am working on a unit plan for Forces and Simple Machines for my practicum in April / May. My hope is to introduce construction of simple machines in a way that makes students want to start building and experimenting without worrying whether their design is right or wrong. I have two ideas for inspiration. One is an OK GO video that uses a massive Rube Goldberg Machine:

The video was made with a company called Synn Labs and these folks specialize in contraptions.

Another fun intro piece I’m hoping to use is a book that my classmate Britney brought to our class.   Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty is a story of never giving up on your pursuits.




Now to work the concepts of Experiment Design and Fair Testing into the lessons…that’ll be fun.

Thanks for reading, friends.


Studio DOT Code DOT org

I start my investigation of kids coding tools with  The website is really well organized, and you don’t have to give away your email or sign up in order to start playing around with the games.


Programming Elsa to walk in a certain path is harder than it looks!  This puzzle has just a few lines of code to choose from, but you have to decide what order to put them in, and what degree of a turn she should walk, plus how many steps she should take in a straight line.  You really have to think like a computer, or like a robot with blinders on.


code an angle


It’s pretty exciting to see whether your code works.  If you make a mistake, you get pointers on how to fix it.




I still don’t know how I could have used only 4 blocks.

This is a nice way to learn coding, and I think kids could catch on much more quickly than adults.  This really is a different language.

Camtasia: How to embed a Youtube video into your post

This was Youtube embedding INCEPTION! I used a software program called Camtasia to do a screen capture of how to embed a youtube video into a WordPress blog post.

The Camtasia software offers a free 30 day trial, and it can do quite a bit. I just did a very basic video without any editing or special effects. I have a head cold and sniffles while recording. Here it is!

Gaming in the Classroom: Supporters and Interest


website DesignOneLayer

It would appear that #hashtags actually do have a #purpose, and it’s not just silly #JimmyFallon jokes.  I got some great responses from a tweet linking to my previous blog post.

Here’s some advice from my ol’ buddy Richard, who is one of the most savvy computer science and math guys out there.  He also has a kid, so I’m confident his suggestions are legit.

richie g

Our lovely instructor Valerie Irvine has all kinds of fun ideas that I hope to get organized.  Her 8 year old might give me some insight into how Minecraft works, and the Gaming Fellow from the ministry might be able to join us for an info session.

My next thought is to do some research on coding for kids.  My husband works in the web design industry, and he pointed out that coding is just as valuable a skill as math or science in the job market. If it’s in demand in the workplace, why not expose little kids to it while their minds are fresh and nimble.  A little bit of coding never hurt anyone (unless you include how much my eyes hurt after coding and crying in my 2nd year comp sci classes at university).  Perhaps if I had been exposed to coding at an earlier age, things would have been a tad easier.

Off I go to Reddit, to find some advice on coding with kids.


Education and Gaming

How does it work?

I will admit, I’ve never been a fan of video games.  But I would like to learn more about how they can be beneficial, especially for education purposes.

I found a few ideas through a search with combinations of the following hashtags on the ol’ twitter.

#education #gaming #learning

Here are some leads:

Mining for materials and then crafting from them
Mining for materials and then crafting from them
Never Alone video game about Inuit Culture
Never Alone video game about Inuit Culture

I will report what I’ve learned!  Maybe I can design some lesson plans around them or have students present on their favourite games.

Spice up you Life!

Girl Power.  Here’s a fun little illustration for THIS magazine, and I worked with a really great art director named Dave Donald.  I feel like this is one of those few instances where the rough got approved right away, and I went straight to final without too much stress or pressure.  What a joy.  The article is written by Alexandra Molotkow, who describes the transition from Spice Girl obsession as a girl to feminism as an adult.  Fun read.  The magazine is on newsstands now, and will probably hit their website soon!

Spice Feminism
image by Mariah Burton