The 2012-2013 school year was coming to an end. It was time to do a culminating activity in Mr. Hisim’s AP Chemistry class. With a little imagination, some lye, and a few pounds of fat; the class of 11th and 12th graders were soon making their own soap. Mr. Nus Hisim isn’t an expert soap maker or former chemist for a soap company, but he is an expert at creating authentic activities for his students to do that will get them excited about chemistry.
With materials at the ready, computers fired up, and cellphones at the ready, students were soon using LabQuest2 wireless probes to monitor the pH balance of the prototypes on their personal iPads or iPhones and quickly determine the best use of their products. While some teams were able to make delicate and fragrant soaps that would be perfect for face cleansers, other products came out more suitable for cleaning engine blocks!`
Taking this exciting chemistry project one step further, Mr. Hisim required his students to not only create a unique soap product but also prepare a marketing plan and advertisement. While some students chose to work with paper and pencil, others took a different approach and selected a technology tool.
PowerPoints, Prezis, and Word Docs were starting to show up on classroom computers, but Mr. Hisim wanted to give his class a full menu of options. Having recently completed a series of professional development sessions on the importance of UDL (Universal Design for Learning), Mr. Hisim shared the website GoAnimate.com with a few students. Lisa Mott, Math Specialist at Walkersville High, had only a few weeks earlier demonstrated for teachers how to create a quick movie explaining a math concept or problem solving strategy. “It’s so easy to use”, said Mrs. Mott, “I figured out how to create a scene in no time and was even able to mash-up the movie with a diagram made in ActivInspire on a Promethean Board.”
Although Mr. Hisim hadn’t spent a lot of time using GoAnimate, there was no question the kids would be able to figure it out on their own. “I showed them the site, they made accounts, and by the end of the 90 minute block a few teams had already made their commercials. These kids are experts on this kind of stuff. I teach them how to make soap; they teach me how to make movies.” One student shared that she preferred using the GoAnimate site to make her soap sales pitch because standing in front of the whole class made her way to nervous.
To see a couple of the finished products check out the two GoAnimate movies linked below: http://goanimate.com/videos/0RaiowGqoIFA?utm_source=emailshare&refuser=0O8n7AEYPsdE
Check out some other fun class photos below:
-Blog post by Michael Hakkarinen, Frederick County Public Schools Technology Resource Teacher, in Mr. Nus Hisim’s AP Chemistry Class for 11th and 12th Grades, ML
You can follow Michael on Twitter: @HakkarinenTRT
To learn more about GoAnimate for Schools visit http://goanimate4schools.com.
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