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Paintnet, Green Screens and 3rd Graders

Green Screen Thumb NailI am having so much fun with the research fellows at Baden Academy!  This group of gifted 3rd graders entered the doorway of the 50 year old science lab of the old Mt. Gallitzen and have begun to imagine with me a magical new media lab.  While we wait for paint and supplies and continue to dream, we have been playing with what is on hand and learning together some introductory skills.

We started with our own ideas and imagining and spent the first few weeks talking with parents and each other about our childhood dreams and the difference we wanted to make in the world. The kids (and parents) learned how to use Google docs and kept notes and research in the “cloud” of cyberspace. Each of the original six kids picked a special project, a passion based project that they will complete and present at the end of the school year One is building a video game to teach math, another programming an arduino, another building and programming a Groma robot (for some great practical jokes), another writing a children’s book (and Ebook) to raise funds to save dolphins, another creating an art show and examining the science of sculpture mediums, and yet another filming a documentary of the building of the lab.

We moved on to learning a little about the career of graphic arts and played with a free download program called Paintnet.  Our first project was to take have a picture taken of each of us with a green screen and replace that green screen with a background that represented our project.  In the process, we also learned a little about the color spectrum, bit depth, tolerance levels, and copyright issues of images on the web.

I made a short YouTube instructional for parents and kids (and other teachers) to use as a teaching tool.  I challenge you to try it out with the young person you love and send me a picture you made!

We have moved on to program animations and games using Scratch.  Compete against us with the CS2N Superpower Competition!


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