Level Up Village, the final days






Sadly we have finished up our Ugandan exchange.  Even though the boys knew the final exchange was last week it was still sad for the boys to not be starting our week off with a new video letter from their global partner.  These girls  had become a big part of our classroom routine over the last two months.

The final weeks introduced some great new things for the boys.  They learned a little about how electricity works.  The final project for the Ugandan exchange is to design a small box which will house a solar light kit.  Level Up Village provides these pre-assembled or in kits or a combination of both, depending on the students ability level.  Our class chose to work in small groups to assemble some of the kits and really seemed to enjoy themselves.  Other than a shortage of minuscule flat head screwdrivers (my fault) and some reckless wire stripping things went very smoothly…so many flickering LED’s…

The next part of the project was making the housings.  Many of the boys went the traditional route and followed the directions provided in their workbooks, but other boys chose to step a bit outside the box.  We have a giant blue robot and a mini white ‘light house’ already printed.  Still to come is a tank, a few cars, and an actual lighthouse, just to name a few.  The boys learned that measuring things accurately is extremely important when trying to make an object.  A little too small and the battery box won’t fit, too big and it will take liberal use of tape to make sure things stay put.  A good lesson for their teacher as well.

Along the way I have learned much about the art of 3D printing.  For example, less is more when applying glue to a print plate:(, if a print time says 15 hours, you can translate that to mean it will also use 80% of an ink cartridge, and most importantly and frustratingly just because something appears on SketchUp doesn’t mean your printer can print it.

I am very much looking forward to the possibilities with next years exchange.  I know I learned a heck of a lot about CAD designing and the world of 3D printing and my students next year will benefit hugely from that experience, and I cannot wait to see what part of the world my classes will learn about with next years global partner!

7th graders are apple picking!

So the 7th graders are actually learning about the formation of the Universe and how we have come up with the current theories we have today.  But, mother nature has no care for the curriculum and when apples are in season it is time for a brief lesson on bees and fruit and pollen and reproductive structures!  Thank you Abbot Brian for inviting100_6948 100_6950 100_6951 100_6952 100_6953 100_6954 100_6955 100_6961 us out to appreciate the amazing crop he has obtained this year.  Here are a few pics thank you Father Benet!

Level Up Global Inventors: engineering and design process, and electricity

Week 3 of our video chats and sketch up lessons are getting underway.  Yesterday the students focused on how the engineering and design process is similar, yet not identical to the scientific method.  They learned about iteration of the process and how the 3d printer makes the process of creating and redesigning prototypes cheaper, easier, and faster than ever before.

In class they created their own chess pieces using sketch up, we are working on the first printings, so check for updates to follow!

We also spent a few minutes watching a couple of the videos from the girls over in Uganda.  It seems they are way ahead of us in using solar power as one of the main sources of power to run their everyday lives.  Both countries use pretty similar back ups of generators, torches (flashlights), and candles.  We also learned that they too charge their phones every night so they are ready the next day:)  Sports were a little different, badminton and cricket, but soccer is a universal…much like social media Instagram and Facebook were once again mentioned.

The girls videos have lovely backgrounds of their country, so we tried to give them a glimpse as well, so far as wifi and portable hotspots would allow.

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8th graders global exchange week 2

So clearly I am still getting the hang of the blogging thing! Today’s classes were very excited to see they had videos from their global partners waiting for them. One young man announced, “I am so cool!”. The classes are starting to get the hang of using sketch up to create items in 3d. But as amazing as that is, they are all much more interested in their video mail! The boys had their ears up against their computer speakers or with their earbuds firmly pressed in order to hear the videos, all at the same time. Many voiced concerns over how they would sound on their return videos, and embarrassment that their first videos weren’t good enough. So even though the young ladies are thousands of miles away much effort is being put into good first impressions. There wasn’t time today to find out what the boys have learned about their global partners, but I think everyone is looking forward to sharing.


The most fascinating discovery the boys made was the fact many of the girls had Facebook accounts.  One student was so curious about their global partner he found the town the school was located in, and also that they are famous for a specific breed of long horned cattle known as the Ankole.  I must admit to being rather impressed myself!

It’s a new year!

So it has been a while since I have been on here and updated the blog.  But a new year needs new content!  So far this year the 8th graders have been introducing themselves to a girls school in Uganda through a global technology collaboration set up by level up village.  At the same time they are being introduced to the amazing world of the cell, they are learning how to design and 3d print using CAD software, and are learning about the culture of a school in the middle of Africa…pretty cool!


7th grade is doing something new this year as well.  We are reaching far back in time to study our Universe from the very beginning.  We will soon be breaking out the ipads and learning about some of the very cool dots up in the sky.  Right now they are learning about how the early universe formed and some theory on what it has developed from and where it will go from here.