Second-grade Physics Activity

Cherry Withers writes about using a couple XOs, and some other netbooks with Sugar on a Stick, in a second-grade classroom.

I had 10 minutes of set-up for my small “talk” with a classroom full of 2nd graders and 40mins of instruction/play time. All told, I had 5 net books working with SoaS and 2 XO 1.5s…  The class was tackling Motion, Force and Balance on their Science curriculum and I thought the Physics Activity would fit in perfectly. They haven’t tackled the Law of Inertia (and I guess didn’t have plans to for this year).

I didn’t start with Physics right away. For the first law I opted to have them stare at an unmoving object, a plastic bowling pin. I told them to use their brain power to move it. Needless to say after almost a minute of doing this they were ready to knock the thing down (which they did in so many ways: shaking the desk, blowing on it, and just the good ol’ hand knock-down) They recorded their observations and we were ready to move on to the second law.

I set it up so that they already have Physics opened. I had them draw a ramp but didn’t tell them how to draw it. I told them to use whatever they can find in the program to do so. I got the variation: some groups drew it with the pencil, some with the triangle tool and a few found the polygon. Then I asked them to drop a ball on the top of the ramp and see what happens. They quickly figured out that their ramp would tip if they drew a big ball. Brianna’s group already knew the tricks (this is her favorite activity) and told everyone to “pin” it down. So we talked about what happens to the ball and how it ties to the 2nd law of inertia. One of the kids did ask me a question that stumped me for a second: “How do you know if it in fact goes on forever? You can’t see it go on forever. What if it did slow down and stopped some where else?”…

I told them to try to stop ball from rolling off forever. Some did try the easy way by just drawing an enormous “block” at the end of the ramp, but others found more creative ways: piling up blocks, some drew a bunch of tiny triangles and squares to slow it down, walls that are bolted and pinned. One group surprised me by thinking out of the box: slow down the ball with tiny objects on the floor and then bolt it down with pins. It was late in the exercise when one of the groups discovered the “pause” button.

Overall, it was a fun experience for the kids and they just absolutely loved the Physics activity.

XOs & sOccket & World Cup

As weeping and cheering for today’s World Cup results spread across the globe, at OLPC we are hoping to recover enough to try sOccket’s power-generating soccer ball at our next weekly scrimmage. Since Ghana and Uruguay are XO countries we are exhausted from rooting for both sides.

Yesterday, Jessica Lin from sOccket visited us at OLPC and promised to trade a sOccket ball for an XO, in hopes that someday a XO can be powered by the energy of play.  Learning in play was strong thread of discussion this week at OLPC. We talked to Jessica about 60+ soccer programs around the world (like the Kabul Girls Soccer Club) that help children learn about teamwork, strategy, physics, and statistics as they participate in their favorite sport. Right to Play was another kindred program we met at the UNRWA education conference, which sparked a brainstorming session about how computer games could be incorporated into RTP programs.

So, start up your XOs!  Track stats of the World Cup games, Measure the amplitude of cheering when a goal is scored, or Record a set of videos of your friend’s elaborate soccer footwork!

We all have the right to learn & play…

Pixel Qi in the limelight, Notion Ink speaks

Pixel Qi is showing off at Computex this week in Taipei, and Charbax just posted a detailed interview with Mary Lou Jepsen from the floor.   Look for the “Qi” button at 0:25, and serious geeking out on the physics and fab process starting at 5:00… and for the rest of the video! (For a quicker soundbite, he also posted this side-by-side iPad / iPhone / 3Qi comparison video yesterday.)

Notion Ink's Adam tablet, in portrait and landscape
Notion Ink's Adam tablet, with 3Qi screen

Pixel Qi are having a good quarter.  They are offering a variety of display options, including wide-view, anti-reflective coating, and a capacitive touchsreen. And they have started winning industry awards. More details, and a Notion Ink interview (they say their Adam tablet will release on time in a few months), after the jump.
Continue reading Pixel Qi in the limelight, Notion Ink speaks

New first-time XO users in Rwanda

While Intel may be convinced that netbooks aren’t for first-time computer buyers, a new wave of first-time XO users are paying for part of their own XOs in Rwanda, under their scheme to allow private school students to take part in the government project.  Moses Gahigi interviewed Richard Niyonkuru about the Rwandan national program, and their shift towards a more learner-centered model.

Elsewhere, near Australia, new blogger Air Sok writes about being introduced to Sugar, hosting a guest presenter who had recently been using the XO in East Timor, and using the Physics activity in class.  A lovely post; please stop by and leave a comment on the new blog!