Note: In a 5 part series of previous lessons the children made towers from just newspaper and tape. This is an extension of that series. However, this lesson could be adapted to about any subject in which you would like the children to create a presentation to share with others.
*You will probably want to consider breaking this activity into two different sessions. I like to have them fill in their 4-square organizer on the first day and then rewrite and record on the next day.
In the second grade science performance expectations, the students are expected to effectively communicate information. This activity does that in an exciting way! With their partner, the children write down the steps they used to create the tower that they have previously designed and built. Then they create a cartoon-like Tellagami and a voice recording telling about their process. The Tellagami can be sent to an email and viewed by the whole class!
NGSS/Common Core Connections
Tellgami app--FREE; you can use it with a phone or ipad--not the computer. In the free version your students can record for 30 seconds. If you purchase the app for $4.99 you get to record for 90 seconds. If you use the free app, your children will have to create a shorter presentation, but it is feasible.
ipads--1 per team, or as many as you have
four-square organizer-1 per student
regular writing paper-1-2 per student
finished towers from previous lesson--1 per team
index cards--1 per team
Advanced Teacher Prep
In order to use this fantastic technology, I first went to the website and familiarized myself with the program. The Tellagami application only works on an iPad or a phone, not on a computer. So I went to the site, followed the site's directions and downloaded the app (see resources Tellagami link). On the iPads that we have at our school, I had to go and add my email to each one, since that's the media that the final product will be sent. Please make sure to do this beforehand.
Once on the app you push the "create" button. It will show you a general overview and how it works. Once you're set, go on ahead and PLAY! Boy, is it fun! It's kind of reminds me of paper dolls, only a lot more "high-tech!" First you customize your character's gender, skin tone, eye color and even the head size! Then you can change your character's mood. Last, you can choose a background. (For this project, your students will be taking a photo with their tower, so the photo is the only background you will need). Then you click on "share." Click save and it automatically creates your Gami. Click on the Gami itself and a speech bubble will appear. Touch the triangle to record your voice. You only have 30 seconds! Once I had the hang of it, I created my own Tellagami to show the class as a model. You will want to do the same.
This activity is so thrilling, it is easy to engage the class. I show them my own Tellagami and they are hooked! I tell the class they will be making their own Tellagami so we could share the great work we had done on our towers, and they are stoked! They can't wait to get started!
We discuss how it is important for scientists to communicate their findings with others. So as scientists, they need to share their information we had learned about building paper towers.
I have the same pairs of students that were partners for building towers work together for this activity.
Today you are going to have the chance to share how you built your towers with others. Engineers share their ideas so others can learn from them. You will be doing the same thing. The first task for your partner team is to name your tower. You might want to name it from its shape or size, what it looks like or what it reminds you of. You will need to talk your ideas over with your partner and make a decision.
This is another opportunity for the children to be creative and also to listen to others. They will have to come up with only one name, so the kiddos might have to make some compromises.
Once you have made that decision, I would like you to write the name of your tower on an index card. Since the name of your tower will be a proper name, what do you need to remember?
Note: They cannot get too detailed since when they use the Gami app, they only have 30 seconds of record time! If you buy the app for $4.99, you get 90 seconds of recording time.
I am kind of a stickler about things, so I want the children to recopy their work. It makes it easier for them to read when they are recording their voice and it just adds more completeness to the project. It is definitely worth the time and effort. Click here for a super short clip showing a boy recopying from his 4-square. I asked the class why they think I had them use 4-square organizers, click here for a girl's response. Please see the reflection for why I like to teach the children to go back and reread their writing.
Click here for a sample of a child's procedural writing page.
Before the children actually make their Gami, there are some decisions to be made. Since this is a team project, one person will get to do the speaking and the other person gets to personalize the Gami. In this way both members contribute, and everyone is happy.
When each groups finishes, I have them go to the Tellagami app. and follow the directions for creating and designing their own Gami. They can choose the gender, clothing and even the hairstyles!
The next step after you have created your Gami is to take a photo of your tower. Set your tower down with the decorated index card in the front. Once you have it in the desired position, click the camera to take a photo. This will be the background for your Gami. Press the back arrow and you will see a microphone. Press that button so you can record your step-by-step directions. You will see a circle and a square. Press the circle to record and the square to stop.
When the children have finished their recording, I click on the share button and send their Gami link to my email.
Then I send their Gami link to my email. I open up the link and the students watch each others’ Gamis. The kids are thrilled to watch their Gami's on the "big screen." It was so cute how they blush and look down for the first few seconds when their Gami was talking, but quickly got over that! By the end of the quick 30 seconds they stand with their shoulders a bit higher and ask to see it again! The others listen so intently, they are hooked! Of course they all ask how they can get this app at home. How fun!
We end the session with talking about how important it is for engineers or even scientists to communicate their findings.
The Gami’s are so darn COOL-- you are going to love this! My kids will be talking about it for days!