Inspiration from Renwick Gallery-

This past weekend I took a trip into Washington, DC to catch up with my cousin who was on her way driving back to Massachusetts.  I was in the area attending a dear friend’s 40th anniversary party for her parents.  I had a such a lovely time seeing old college friends, their budding families, and dancing the night away with my family. I concluded this was the first time my family as a whole, all 6 of us, danced together on the dance floor!  It was a lovely celebration of love.

So getting to see my cousin was icing on the cake.  DC was a much better meeting spot than a rest area right? In 2 hours we enjoyed the Renwick Gallery near the White House and a nice lunch at Cosi across the street.  The Renwick had come highly recommended by my dear friend due to their new exhibit “Wonder”. Designed to intrigue and inspire awe, it was a beautiful exhibit to trigger creative energy.

The installations were absolutely amazing. Completely a must-see!

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Volumetric form and a representation of topography-handwoven net by Janet Echelman
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Can you believe this is string? by Gabriel Dawe
These are index cards! by Tara Donovan
These0 are index cards! by Tara Donovan
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Stocking Stuffer Idea: WubbleX Floating Bubble Ball {sponsored post}

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IMG_3523bAs fans of the original Wubble ball, my family and I were excited to see how the WubbleX “anti-gravity” Wubble ball would fair.  The original Wubble ball is a different type of ball and my kids love to play with theirs.  I personally like the learning experiences you can get with them!  The WubbleX uses helium gas, but I wasn’t sure how it would be different from playing with a regular helium filled latex balloon!

The Size.  The WubbleX ball is about the size of an extra large balloon.  We were a little disappointed that it wasn’t the size of the huge Wubble ball!  However, after inflating it with the Wubble tank of helium, we realized it was pretty fun to play with!

Fun play! The WubbleX floats and lifts up with little effort, but comes back down easily to play with.  It was like playing with a floating ball, hence the “anti-gravity” feature!  This was similar to playing with a balloon that was losing it’s helium.  The main difference is that it does “float” very nicely.  So it definitely feels like it is defying gravity!  My kids enjoyed playing with and it lasted for several days with its “floating” ability.

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The Value. The WubbleX is great for the cost ($7.99), but keep in mind that you need to purchase a WubbleX can of helium as well ($7.99).

The Cons. You have to buy the WubbleX small tank of helium separately to use it.  In addition, one tank is for a one time use.  If you want to reinflate your WubbleX with fresh helium, you have to get another tank.

Final say…  Overall, my kids loved playing with the WubbleX.  They enjoyed it more than a regular latex helium balloon because it doesn’t get stuck in the ceiling or hover in a single spot.  You have to try it out yourself to fully understand how to it “floats”!   This is a great stocking stuffer that isn’t too expensive and should provide loads of fun for the kids!

Enjoy!

~Lani

Disclaimer:  I received a WubbleX sample in order to write this review.  The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.

 

 

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Matific: Teaching Math Intuitively Through Interactive Gaming (+ a Giveaway!)

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By now you have probably settled into the school year.  Orientations are over.  If you are a teacher, classroom management structure has been established and now you are getting to know the abilities of the students.  If you are a parent, you may be noticing your child struggling in certain areas now that they are in the thick of things.  Particularly in math, it is critical that your child get the extra support he/she needs to succeed.

Why is math important?

Math along with subjects that support STEM initiatives has been a concern in U.S. education.  A recent Pew Research Center report concluded that although math scores have improved significantly in the past two decades, the U.S. still falls in the middle amongst countries in math aptitude.  In 2013, 35 percent of eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in mathematics.  What are the possible consequences of this?  Math is considered a cornerstone for learning critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and other vital intellectual skills to make proficient productive workers.  However, it is projected that there will be a projected 1.2 million STEM jobs by 2018 that will remain unfilled as we currently don’t have the proficiency to fill them.

What is Matific?

Matific is a new math resource for grades K-6 that strives to provide versatile immersive math experiences for students.  Available online as through mobile applications as well (both Android and iOS), Matific delivers episodes which consists of hands-on interactive games and challenges in specific math topics.  In addition, a variety of worksheets are available along with the episodes to provide additional practice.

How does it help students?

Developed by mathematicians and educators, Matific is based on the idea of making math intuitive for students.  It is designed to support math curriculums by providing spiraling activities that build from the fundamental to more higher order challenges.  Students navigate through concepts on their own as positive feedback is delivered.  Each grade level includes a comprehensive list of activities including arithmetic operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis, and even a more challenging area called “brain teasers” for the students who just want more.  Most importantly, the episiodes are fun and all have a gaming element.  My 5th grader likes how it turns concepts like division and fractions into fun play.

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I initially thought Matific was only going to be useful for my 5th grader, but my 2 year old actually loves playing the counting episodes in the Kindergarten module!  This is a great tool in preparing students for kindergarten when you provided guided instruction.

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Parents who are interested in purchasing for your children can start with a 10-day trial. Membership options run in 3, 6, and 12 month increments starting at $18 or $36 annually.  The price is very reasonable for what you are getting.

How can it help teachers?

Whether you are classroom teacher, assistant, or homeschool teacher, Matific is a great supplement to your instruction.  Teachers can start with a FREE account and have students engage with the hands-on activities on the computer or mobile devices as a process activity or attention-getter for a lesson.  With a teacher account, you have free access to all of the episodes, worksheets, tutorials, and teacher guides.  In addition, you can upload a class list or invite students to your Matific account and track everyone’s progress.  Populate performance reports for yourself, parents, or a math administrator in your building.  You can even upgrade to a premium account and have each student access Matific at home.  This may be a good supplement to a flipped classroom.

Now for a GIVEAWAY!

Are you interested in Matific?  I am running a giveaway for the next two weeks for you to get a FREE annual account!  You can have all of the episodes and worksheets, grades K-6, for your children to use for the entire year!  Just enter below!  A winner will be selected at random.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE 11/9/2015:  Congratulations to Dana B for winning a year of Matific!

Good luck!
~Lani

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary year membership to Matific to assist with this review.  All of the opinions here are completely my own.

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