Monday, April 24, 2017

Third Quarter Happenings

During Term 3 we explored Communication Technology, House Construction, and Bridge Construction. All 3 of these units had a hands on group activity to enhance the students' learning experience.

During Communication Technology, students worked in groups to build simple cup & string communicators. These communicators were used to reinforce the lesson on the Components of a Communication System as each of the components could be identified using this simple communication device and allowed students to have some fun while learning a very important concept. 

After the information on House Construction was presented, students worked in groups to sketch each of the 3 major subsystems of the house (Floor, Walls, & Roof). Once the sketches were complete, each group created one of the subsystems using materials available in class (shoe boxes, drinking straws, cardboard, construction paper, chenille stems, etc.). Once the subsystem was complete, each group used an iPad to video themselves describing  the subsystem they had created and uploaded the completed video to Google Classroom. This activity allowed students to work collaboratively and also enabled them to use technology to demonstrate what they had learned as well as gave them practical experience using Google Classroom which will be used extensively in high school. 

For Bridge Construction, students applied what they had learned about bridge construction by working in groups to create a bridge using no more than 100 popsicle sticks and wood glue. The groups were given a set of criteria that the bridge should meet but were allowed to use their creativity and imagination to create a bridge that they thought would be strong enough to support at least one text book and hopefully break last year's record of 24 text books (67.2 pounds). Three groups came very close with their bridges holding 23 books but last year's record is safe for another year.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Second Quarter Happenings

For the second year in a row, during Computer Science Education Week (December 5 through December 11), all Technology Education students participated in the Hour of Code along with over 200 million students worldwide. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who was born on December 9, 1906. The Hour of Code is an initiative started by and is designed to expand access to computer science in our schools. is a nonprofit organization launched in 2013. It is supported by many people in the technology, business, education, and political arenas: President Obama, President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), and Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web inventor) to name just a few.

The idea behind this effort is to promote and raise awareness of the fact that computer science drives innovation throughout this country’s economy but it remains marginalized in education in the United States. They cite a statistic that there are over 512,340 open computer jobs nationwide but only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce. They also state that only 40% of schools nationwide teach computer programming. The hope is that by introducing students to computer science and coding, they will pursue the study of it further during their education.

Students were able to code video games with Star Wars, Minecraft, Frozen, and other themes. They were engaged and enthusiastic throughout the entire week. At the conclusion of the week, students completed a survey to share their thoughts on the activity. According to the survey 98% of the students enjoyed the activity, 74% of them had never tried coding before, 66% said that they had tried the activity at home or planned to try it after having done it in class, 90% said that had learned something new from this activity, 91% said that they would like to do more coding in this class if time permits, 52% said that they would like it if a coding class were offered in school, and 20% said they would like it if a computer coding club were available at school. 

This proved to be a very positive experience and one that I look forward to offering again next year. Visit for much more information about the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education.

In preparation for the Hour of Code, students were taught introductory computer related vocabulary. They also viewed a short documentary about the life of Grace Hopper.

The Hour of Code comes to Case Jr High
Students participate in the Hour of Code
Students display their Hour of Code Completion Certificates

The other major topic covered during Term 2 was Communication Technology. Students learned about the important factors that contribute to effective communication as well as the different types of communication. In addition, students learned about some important contributors to the world of communication technology. Among the people that were discussed in class were Johannes Gutenberg (Printing Press), Alexander Graham Bell (Telephone), Philo Farnsworth (Televison), Martin Cooper (Cell Phone), Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web), Bil Gates (Microsoft), and Steve Jobs (Apple). 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Quarter Happenings

Welcome to the Joseph Case Junior High School Technology Education Quarterly Newsletter. As the name implies, this newsletter will be published quarterly to keep you informed of happenings in the Technology Education classroom and to preview upcoming events. 

I would also invite you to keep up with classroom happenings via the following:
At the start of the school year, each class was assigned a name of a person who was an important contributor to the world of technology. The class names are: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Grace Hopper, Neil Armstrong, Martin Cooper, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. While all of these people were/are important contributors to the world of technology, some of them are more instantly recognizable than others. In order to alllow students to learn more about their class namesake, they were given a short assignment which required them to do some research to answer a set of questions about the person that their class was named for. 

Another activity that we did at the beginning of the year was to survey the students with regard to their communication technology use. The survey was anonymous and the results are shown in the chart below. Since the survey was also taken last year, the results of both years are shown on the chart for comparison purposes. The survey reveals that Instagram, Snapchat, iPhones, and Gaming Systems are very popular with 8th grade students.

Lessons & activities so far: 
  • Unit 1: Introduction to Technology
    •  A History of Invention Video
    • Important technology related vocabulary that will be used throughout the year was introduced  
  • Unit 2: Engineering Design Process 
    • Leonardo daVinci Biography Video
    • Thomas Edison Biography Video
    • 8 Steps of the Engineering Design Process
    • Invention of Gatorade Mini Documentary (Engineering Design Process to solve a real world problem)
  • Unit 3: Aerodynamics
    • Wright Brothers Biography Video
    • Basic Aerodynamics concepts & vocabulary
    • Classroom activity using a hairdryer and various size and shape objects to demonstrate how the size, shape, and weight of the object affect the its aerodynamic properties
    •  Classroom activity to create several different designs of paper airplanes to demonstrate how the different designs of the planes affect their aerodynamic properties
Below are some pictures of students having some fun on a nice Autumn day while learning about Aerodynamics along with pictures of the students whose planes performed the best while testing...


In early December we will be participating in the Hour of Code. In preparation for that we will be learning some basic computer vocabulary and concepts. Click here to learn more about the Hour of Code initiative