Archive for July, 2010

You must have guessed I have a soft spot for comics and Superheroes by now. So, when @russeltarr (look at his excellent website here) twitted a link to a video made by his 14-years old Historians (as he calls them) I got immediately interested in this new video creator with animated characters; xtranormal.com. Believe me, it is really good fun and very easy and quick to use. The below video took me about 15 min to make and it was a simple attempt to create an example for my Yr 10 pupils, so that they could also use this tool to create fun videos about an area of Physics we have studied (if you can’t see the video from this blog click here). Because we have been amused by the Physics of Superheroes in a number of lessons, I though they would like the video I created to understand and remember the difference between Speed and Velocity!

The intent, however, was never to use this video creator as a teaching tool, but rather as a lovely way to get my pupils engaged with Physics and to get them talking about processes by explaining them through unusual situations (a bit like the Marvel Comic on Momentum).

Unfortunately there were two problems I had not anticipated:

1. To publish your videos you must buy credits

2. Our network let us down for the 1000th time and even this really useful tool was blocked

I might be able to get the IT Technician to unblock it, so the kids can at least use the story board and the effects. But I think I will use this great website to create one of those stories where each group writes a line and the next group continues it, so by the end of the lesson we will have a story about Physics that is created by the whole class. It would be even nicer if this  became a quick revision movie about all the topics covered made with the contribution of the whole class! I will let you know how it goes, but if you have some good stories with Xtranormal, please let us know by adding a comment to this blog post.

I previously posted a blog on “The Physics of Superheroes” and explained how I use Superheroes movies like X-men 3 to introduce the idea of Momentum in my Yr 11 classes. The activity was quite successful, so I decided to push even further by asking my children to write a comic about momentum and superheroes!

To write the comics my pupils used the Marvel Kids Comic Creator, a fantastic online tool that lets you compile comic strips using the Marvel Comics characters. You can also change the backgrounds, use props and a variety of speech bubbles that makes the whole process very easy and enjoyable. So, the children have the freedom to be creative, and at the same time they can focus on the Physics. I first heard about this great tool from Ollie Bray, a great Educator! Follow him on Twitter if you don’t already.

Here is an example pupils’ work from Michael and Liam

I though this strip was particularly good and quite creative. Yes, there is a mistake in the bottom section of the second page, but overall I really enjoyed reading it and I think the kids got a lot out of it, especially when we could discuss that mistake.

So, what is the mistake? Can you spot it? Please, write your thought as a comment to this blog.

Thanks!