Friday, September 2, 2011

Create a Car

Create a Car is an app that I bought for $.99. You essentially build a car.  You can save your 'cars' to your own garage as well. Once you are finished building your car, you must save it to your can then touch a 'key' button to start the engine and watch the moving parts.  The cool factor with this app is the building process...there are TONS of parts to choose from and some of them are pretty wild!  For example, for an engine, you can choose from options like: nuclear power exchanger, solar turbo inducer, power engine, solar gain fin, etc.  This is the language factor that I love!  Great opportunities to discuss and use descriptive words.  It also presents great opportunities to ask higher level thinking questions, such as: "Why do you think they named it the solar turbo inducer?  What do those words mean to you?"  or "Why did you pick the nuclear power exchanger?"  If students are not at that vocabulary level, we simply don't use those terms and describe the parts based on appearance.
This app is an example of an app that could stand alone as the activity for the session or across multiple sessions.  There is a lot that can be done language-wise with this app. I can address:
  • basic and advanced car vocabulary, parts, etc
  • sequencing: what steps will we need to do?
  • higher level wh- questions:
    • What would you like your car to look like when it is finished? (pre-discusion)
    • Why did you pick _____ part?
    • Why didn't you pick ______ part?
    • What would happen if you didn't add wheels?
    • What will happen if you don't add an engine?  
    • etc.
  • writing activities:  write a step-by-step list of how you built your vehicle, write descriptive sentences about your vehicle
  • comparing/contrasting: use venn diagrams to compare/contrast 2 vehicles from the garage, put into sentences
  • social language and pragmatics: work on building a car as a team or with a partner, target concepts such as teamwork, being flexible in thought, and using/understanding non-verbal communication to select car parts, etc.
I am sure there are dozens of other goals as well!!!

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