On Set with Cisco I CAN Learn
How do you make Math and Science both fun and engaging for Grade 7 students?
How do you make Math and Science both fun and engaging for Grade 7 students? - An age group that may think otherwise and who are potentially more interested in their PS4’s than in their homework.
Here’s something that kids can relate to, and that’s sports. What better way to highlight sports than the upcoming Pan/Parapan Am Games right? So now the question is, how do we relate Grade 7 Math and Science to sports and how do we make sure it’s engaging for them?
What Can You Get with Pizza & $50?
Creating educational video content is a new endeavor for FUSE and creating them for Grade 7 students makes the wow factore even more important. The question was – where do we start? How do we write scripts that are acceptable for the Ontario curriculum? Sure, we know how to write creative scripts, but are we qualified to write about Math and Science?
Well first, we wanted to get into the mindset of these kids, it’s amazing how much you can learn with Pizza and $50. We held an after school focus group with 5 kids, and their parents, between the ages of 11 and 13. We showed them three different styles of video and then asked them a series of oral and written questions.
It was surprising how vocal and opinionated these kids were; individually they liked and disliked different items of each video. We truly thought because we had such a small group that they would feel pressured to agree with what the other had said –I’ve seen this in previous focus groups with adults. Our key takeaway coming out of the focus group was that this type of content was hot with kids right now – so we were right on the nose. FYI - I’m happy to report that Bill Nye is still popular with the kids!
Creating the Lesson Plans
Ok, so we knew the type of videos we wanted to create but now the questions was - how the heck do we integrate the grade 7 curriculum into our scripts? Well, we work with some Math and Science experts to help us do so, that’s how! We held several working sessions to help develop interesting scenarios where Math and Science either helped enhance or explain what’s happening with athletes or in the sport itself.
Like, explaining the biology behind sweating, while playing a soccer match and why it’s so important to stay hydrated while playing, very similar to the Sidney Crosby Gatorade commercials. Or why your face gets so red during exercise.
Or, with basketball (one of my favourites), explaining to kids why some shots go in and some don’t. Teaching kids that by mastering their centre of gravity, it will help their game by making them more stable on the court.
What about teaching kids that the average 50kg gymnast, swinging around a bar, can exert a force of 6 times her own body weight? Showing them that this is why the bar bends as much as it would if a 300kg man was sitting on it.
For the weightlifting video, teaching kids about their strongest muscle that “pumps you up”, not your biceps silly, but your heart! Fun fact; your heart pumps enough blood in one year to fill a super tanker – ewww, but true!
Once we had the scripts, we were off to the races to shoot the videos. It was a two-day shoot, using an amazing Phantom camera, filming at 1000 frames per second.
Check out the behind the scenes video of the Taekwondo video we shot. We were fortunate enough to work with Adam Tomlinson, who is a Pan Am games Taekwondo hopeful.
Our talent for the soccer video was a real good “sport”. He had to do several takes using powder to get the effects the director and Director of Photography wanted.
The Final Product
In the end, the team developed an amazing product – 5 special videos featuring 5 different Pan Am sports. Even though FUSE had never done this before, following our usual methodology of data collection, brainstorming (and in this case a helpful group of science and math nerds) we were able to get to the same fabulous result. Point being, whether you’ve done it 100 times or never before, following your tried and true process with a dash of geek will guide the way.
I Can Learn
Get to know more about CISCO’s I Can Learn Program here. Teachers, if your looking to spice up your lesson plans, be sure to visit the Teacher’s Portal!