Challenge Class News - Forest Park District 91 - Mrs. Finn

Allowing time for interests and self-awareness allows students to develop into independent learners and thinkers. 8th graders are currently investigating TED-Ed talks in the classroom, exploring what they are most passionate about and defining what really makes "an idea worth sharing."  The TED-Ed club experience is about students discussing ideas and, eventually, learning how to give a TED-style talk about one they’re passionate about.

What will transportation look like in the future?  Working together, eighth graders developed a simulation of a city 150 years into the future, prepared a research paper, narrative and a scale model city (designed from recycled materials) for their National Engineering Week:  Future Cities project.
Troy, Clayton, and Franky presented  8th grade Challenge city model to over 3o engineering professionals. The team took home the award for Best Futuristic City from the American Society of Civil Engineers!

Communication tools for global collaboration is what drives our 7th grade web design project and takes their learning beyond the classroom.   The students use many web based tools to empower, connect and create with other students around the world on topics they choose.   

Students also decide on how they will incorporate a "helping focus" into their work.  Seventh graders discussed ideas with their partner schools and decided to help typhoon survivors in the Philippines by holding a bake and craft sale.  Mind mapping
their topic ideas online helped to generate their collaborative topic: Feeding the Future World:  GMOs, Hunger, and Charity.

Here is a preview:

Sixth graders are taking a research journey to become experts in a topic they select.  After exploring many (local) historical topics and understanding their their impact and importance today,  students selected a topic that interests them most. Using a variety of research tools to truly understand their topic, they will work to develop a thesis statement and back it up with evidence.  The final project can be a documentary, exhibit, website, performance or research paper.

How can nature inspire us?  In our architecture unit 4th and 5th graders explore architects,  structure, geometry and nature. For centuries, innovators have looked at nature for inspiration when developing new products and systems. The genius of many architects is due in part to their ability to perceive how the technology of nature can be incorporated into design. Students are also taking on their own design challenge by creating a model structure in 3D and printing it on a Makerbot.  The 3D  design takes time, perseverance and some extra visual and spatial coordination. 

Grades 3- 4 and 5 are continuing where they left off with Hands-on Equations and solving linear equations with a kinesthetic and visual system that helps students to think
algebraically.  There is also time for logic problems, collaborative and strategy games, plexars, and lateral thinking puzzles.

After participating in "An Hour of Code" earlier this year,  third graders are embarking  on developing their own programs using Scratch, a programming environment developed by MIT. As they learn to program, students are developing both critical reasoning and systems thinking.  To build their program, students need to coordinate the timing and interactions between multiple programmable objects. The flexibility of our programming challenges give students an opportunity to be creative while experiencing hands-on problem finding/solving strategies through experimentation in logic.  

An Hour of Code 
Coding is literally everywhere we look, touch, tap and scroll—so, it’s safe to say that the world is going to need more code speakers to make it all work! Spend an hour on writing/understanding code and you will learn a lot. Below are Free Apps to Help You Teach Coding.

teach codingScratch can be used by anyone who wants to learn coding, There is also a Scratch community to your work with or to borrow other code and remix.

teach coding 2 Hopscotch  is a digital version of Legos. This app has been designed specifically for touch screens, so there’s no typing involved. All you do is drag and drop blocks of code and watch your characters spring into action.

teach coding 3Tynker is  like Scratch, but unlike most coding apps, Tynker has  lesson plans, classroom management tools, and a dashboard where it can track student progress.

teach coding 4Daisy the Dinosaur solve the challenges by dragging and dropping the right code into place to help her do it. This is a fun and intuitive way to learn basics of object coding, sequencing and looping events.

Alice is great for coders looking for a challenge

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CTD Summer Programs

Northwestern Center for Talent development is accepting applications for their 2014 Summer Program. 

Programs are held in Evanston, Elmhurst, Skokie, Palatine, Naperville, Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois

Summer program website

Here are 3rd and 4th grade Forest Park Amusement Park rides:

Some more of our amusement park rides can be found on Edmodo

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