G4 Google eBooks: Force & Simple Machines UOI

Introducing Google eBooks!

Great for:

  • grade 2 and up who have google accounts
  • classes with shared laptops (or 1:1 laptops)
  • no iPad classrooms (therefore limited book creation apps)
  • low tech students; language learning; learning support needs (collaborative element takes pressure off individual performance)
  • pre-cursor for more complex eBook creation apps (ex: iBooks Author; Keynote etc)

Why did we choose to do eBooks?

  • showcase learning
  • synthesise understanding
  • formative assessment
  • collaborative project
  • improve creative design skills

Three weeks ago the Grade 4 teacher and I sat down to collaborate on purposeful tech integration in her Simple Machines UOI. The students were going to do a variety of hands-on learning engagements and document their findings in a ‘Forces Booklet’. We decided that while the booklets were excellent for guiding the learning and reflection on the inquiry-based activities, we needed something more concrete to showcase the learning journey. Shared laptops are available, but not 1:1, and the teacher has 1 iPad for the whole class.

Tuning-in to Simple Machines

Students first did some tuning in activities to learn about forces. The teacher set up hands-on experiences for the students to explore each concept and complete their understanding in a booklet.

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Scaffolding learning and structuring the eBook

We decided a collaborative class eBook would be an effective formative assessment for students to synthesize and summarize their understanding. Students have just started using Google Accounts and therefore are new to Google Drive. The teacher and I set up a template for students to use, as well as a checklist they could follow. Before introducing this project to the students, we decided on 3 parts to the eBook:

A: What types of Forces Exist

B: What are Simple Machines

C: Constructing Complex Machines

D: What forces are at work when you use a simple/complex machine

The structure of the eBook reflects the lines of inquiry and addresses the central idea:

Our understanding of forces and motion helps us to create machines that solve problems.

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Introducing Creative Commons

Since one of the tasks included adding real-world examples, I decided to introduce Creative Commons as the primary bank of media they could draw from. We briefly discussed the idea of ‘stealing’ media and some students already had an understanding of sourcing material from their previous unit on Digital Citizenship, in Grade 3.

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Collaborating and Consolidating Understanding

Today students used their ‘Forces Booklets’ to create a definition about one of the forces they learned through the inquiry-based tasks. Students shared what they found out and created a definition that made sense to them.

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Next, students had the choice of using Creative Commons Search to find examples of their force, or they could use shapes to create examples of their force concept.

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