Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tinkerbox -- An Intergrade Level Collaboration Effort

As the computer teacher I like to try to integrate my lessons with the regular classroom units.  So, I'll periodically send out emails to see what's going on out there.  When our second grade teacher told me they were looking at motion and force, I knew we hit a gold mine.

My seventh graders (who I see every day) recently did an app test drive on Tinkerbox, so I knew they could help me out.  Having a roomful of second graders on Tinkerbox with only one adult would be a headache for the teacher.  Having a roomful of seventh graders helping the roomful of second graders makes life easier and is great for older/younger student interaction.

During my middle school time slot today, I brought the seventh graders to second grade to show them how to play Tinkerbox.  It was great to see students clustered in groups learning how to use the app and exploring the different levels. 

We need to do this again.

New to Tinkerbox? Each level requires you to move various balls or boxes to different places on the screen. It's your job to place elements on the screen in such a way to achieve your goal.  It's totally a game, but the scientific elements are real enough.  For instance, look at the screenshot below.  The pendulum swings back and forth to hit the switch.  The switch dictates the direction of the conveyor belts. You have three balls, and each one goes in a different tube.  The pendulum acts like a real pendulum; each swing has a lower arc than the swing before. (By the way, I'm stuck on this level.  Can you help me out? Thanks.)

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