Recently, my Pinball Wizard project was chosen as the Grand Prize winner for the Primary/Secondary Cross-Curricular category in the Adobe Education Exchange 2011 Educators' Choice Awards. This is a contest that features innovative teaching and learning materials, which are created with the help of Adobe products. Many of the teachers in my district and students at my school helped to support me in this endeavor, and I cannot thank them enough. As a result of the contest, I have won a 15-inch MacBook Pro (which I am typing on right now) and the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection (which I am still waiting for in the mail). Also, after the contest, the PR manager from Adobe contacted me about doing an interview with one of their bloggers. The interview can be found here.
Below is a description of the Pinball Wizard project. This description was a part of my entry, along with the project’s website, student samples, and a video of students playing on their pinball machines.
This is an interactive website for a STEM unit in which fourth grade students learn mainly about electricity & magnetism and force & motion. Learning is accomplished through the building of pinball machines. The website was designed to be embedded into a WYSIWYG editor. The white space surrounding the website would not be seen by the viewer.
Last year, Pinball Wizard was completed by all 5 fourth grade classrooms (about 140 students) at Willow Lane Elementary School, East Penn School District. The project was created as a part of the district's STEM initiative, which started last year. Pinball Wizard will continue to be implemented by all fourth grade classrooms on a yearly basis.
For the website, everything is interactive, from the bumpers to the flippers. To familiarize yourself with the project, start with the Overview. Then, take a look at the Directions, followed by the Research and the Pinball Packet.
This website functions as a one stop shop that supplies teachers and students with everything that is needed to feel comfortable with the Pinball Wizard project. All that is missing is the science textbook! Also created for the project are two formative assessments, one summative assessment, and certificates for students who build the best machines. (Contact me if you are interested.)
This project has been a part of multiple presentations, both on a building level and a district level.
Thank you for checking out Pinball Wizard!
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