Saturday, April 21, 2018

How Students Make Science Come Alive

Animating Science Workshops

I recently taught Animating Science for kids 8 to 14 at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA. I am offering these kinds of workshops at the McLean Project for the Arts, the Bower Center and other venues. As I am doing more research about best practices in science education, I am finding evidence supporting my use of both phenomena based learning and animation. 

What is Phenomena-Based Learning?

Educators are using observable events in nature to explain or predict core concepts in science. Their curiosity sparked, students work to understand the phenomena in their own words/way.  This is done by presenting the events for the students to experience and then discussing, questioning and pondering.

This makes sense to me. When something peaks my curiosity, I start asking questions.  
I want to understand what I am seeing. This is what scientists do. In Anim8Nature workshops, students have the opportunity to then animate a science phenomena. How is this a powerful educational tool?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

6 Reasons Learning Animation Makes Kids Smarter

iPad Spring Break Camp at the McLean Project for the Arts

I had a wonderful time working with these students last week. It was exciting to see their dedication, focus and creativity. I have a great deal of respect for their intelligence and ability to move forward successfully as they maneuver their world. You will see some samples of their work below. 

I appreciate the opportunity to help them expand their skill set and get even smarter! Here are 6 of the many ways kids get smarter by learning animation:

1. Putting Things in Context: What Does To Animate Mean?

I always start my animation workshops by asking this question: What does to animate mean? This is tricky because I have one very precise definition I am fishing for and rarely get it immediately. This time I did...which was nice. To animate means to bring to life. 

I want to boil things down to the essence of what we are doing. Pull away the associations to computers, cartoons, anime, 3D, all the details. Not that they are not part of an expanded definition, but not the essence. I wanted to get down the the basics, as an animator this is a very thrilling concept. I can bring a line to life and well as a whole universe. I love what I do and it's important to me to share the creative possibilities.

A Plan Comes Together

It fascinates me that sometimes when inspiration comes, it's everywhere I look. I like that! My challenge to visualize the connection of...