Thursday, March 10, 2011

Easy Geometry Practice Using Spreadsheets

There are many ways to use manipulatives to teach geometry concepts in the classroom. The Innovation Station makes sharing these so much easier. Projecting a close-up image of a student made shape helps all students in the classroom analyze the shape to see if it meets the project criteria.

Capturing the images using the document camera will allow the teacher to use student-made geometric examples for classroom projects or visual examples that teachers could use during lesson assessments.

Texas technology assessments include assessing students on their ability to use spreadsheets. Some of those skills include formatting text, changing row and column sizes, and drawing borders. In an amazing coincidence, we can use those same tools to create 2D geometric shapes that can be printed and cut out to build 3D shapes. Spreadsheets can help students visualize the measurement of perimeter, area, and volume while also practicing technology skills at the same time.

Download this Excel document is a two-page sample that teachers can use to develop their technology-friendly geometry lesson. Lesson scaffolding ideas are included for elementary through high school students. Edit the file and make it your own!

Spreadsheets can be a valuable tool for teaching geometry concepts and the Innovation Station can help share their small examples much more easily.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Does My Projector Need A Dentist?

Your projector doesn't need a dentist, but some do need regular cleaning. Those classrooms with Epson projectors will need to remember to get the filter cleaned.  (The 3M projectors are DLP which means they do not have filters.)

What does the filter do? It keeps some dust particles out of the inside as the machine draws in air to cool the mechanics.  Unfortunately, as the filter gets more clogged, less cooling air comes in and the machine will more quickly overheat or burn out the bulb prematurely.

Remember, dead bulbs are the consumable cost of the campus. Help them live longer by keeping the filters clean!  The official Epson directions for cleaning a filter can be found here.

Otherwise, one can carefully locate the filter, remove it, clean it, and replace it with minimal techno-skill. 

This filter is very clogged.  When you see it, think "running a marathon breathing through a straw!"  It really needs to be cleaned.

This filter was cleaned. One can carefully tap the large excess dust chunks off or use a small vacuum to pull out the dirt, but pouring water slowly though it will wash the dust out of the filter. Air dry if possible or carefully pad the filter with soft absorbent cloth to get the water out.

Keeping your filter clean means checking it every 2-3 months. Don't let it get bad enough to kill the projector.