IPads put to use in KHMS physics experiment


Tech helps students gather data for project on safety.

Tech helps students gather data for project on safety.



Alex Koning can't imagine going back to teaching without technology.

And neither can the science teacher's students at Kenneth Henderson Middle School.

On Friday afternoon, students in Koning's eighth-grade physics class measured the speed of cars on Fleming Street.

They also surveyed drivers who pulled into the middle school parking lot.

The activities Friday afternoon were part of a much-larger month-and-a-half project that will address the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on Fleming Street and Talley Trail.

The students will study momentum and what could happen to bicyclists if cars don't stop in crosswalks, depending on the speed of the car.

The students use Pasco software on the iPad, which features motion sensors.

Koning won a grant to do that, and was part of a statewide pilot program to see how iPads would increase educational content in the classroom.

Maribel Garcia, 13, said she uses the iPad to take photos and see how long it takes cars to get from one point to another. Using that information, she can determine the speed of the car.

"Yeah, it definitely helps with this experiment," she said.

Carlos Rodriguez, 14, offered his take on the experiment.

"We're stopping cars to survey drivers about their driving. We're also timing them and seeing if they wait for pedestrians," he said.

Ever Ramirez, 14, said the students are learning about science and safety.

"Drivers will tell you if they don't stop for pedestrians on the survey," he said.

Estreita Jacinto, 14, said the experiment may help people traveling on foot.

"It will help pedestrians cross. Sometimes they don't see when cars are coming, and the cars don't see them. It will be safer to cross the street," she said.

Koning said based on the findings of the class, which will be produced just before Christmas, the students will go before the Garden City Commission and ask that all pedestrian walkways be marked with more signage.

Koning said the iPads have increased educational content in the classroom.

"You can do so, so much more. They're not only learning physics but they're using technology and language arts. It's just a huge change," he said.

The type of curriculum associated with the iPads and technology will help prepare students for Common Core Standards tests, Koning said.

"It is Common Core. It's going deeper and challenging the students," he said. Koning also said he's excited about the shift from No Child Left Behind, the federal law that called for all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014, to Common Core Standards.

Students in USD 457 are using technology to learn Common Core curriculum that includes higher-level thinking.

"We're going deeper, not wider. This gives us so much freedom. There's a real shift in education happening," he said.

Making the physics experiment into a real-life, hands-on project that may solve problems is beneficial to the students, Koning said.

"They love the fact that they can make a difference. There's a real reason they're learning this," he said.

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