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Encouraging Creativity Within Your Science Lessons

14 March 2019

Inside Pinnguaq: The Power of Storytelling Through Science

March is Youth Science Festival Month so it’s fitting that we are exploring how to incorporate technology, like TWINE, into science lessons! When I first learned about TWINE my mind ran wild with the possibilities, especially in a classroom setting. Once you understand the basics of TWINE it can be incorporated into any subject. TWINE is a program that uses HTML and CSS code to allow users to create non-linear stories. These stories can be similar to a ‘choose your own adventure’ story, that offers the user choices. It may not be immediately clear how non-linear storytelling can be used in a science classroom but there are unlimited possibilities. Storytelling has been used to transfer knowledge and provide perspective for generations, so why not use it in our classrooms? Introducing and integrating coding into a variety of school subjects can help students become more familiar and comfortable with the many ways we use coding in our everyday lives. Coding has become a necessary skill in our workforce and our curriculum hasn’t caught up to reflect this need just yet. Unless students show a great interest in technology themselves, they’re going to be lacking these skills that will be an asset in the workforce. This is why it is important to take opportunities to incorporate technology into other school subjects. Even though this can feel daunting there are so many great resources that make integrating coding simple.

Over the last few years, I have had great successes teaching students lessons where I’ve integrated technology into the discussions. Sometimes there are technical difficulties and issues to overcome but the student engagement is worth it. I found students become more interested in the topic they’re studying and end up putting more effort into their project.

The module I wrote for the Pinnguaq Learning Space was based on an idea I had about the organ systems in the human body and how they work together, "Exploring Biological Systems Using TWINE". I was inspired by the episode of the Magic School Bus where Ms. Frizzle and the class travel through the human body. In each organ system, there are multiple organs involved, tasks being completed and pathways for cells to travel. My thought was to divide the different organ systems up amongst the students and have them work in groups to create a non-linear story that travels through the system. Each piece of the story can describe the function of the organ and branch off to explain how that organ interacts with other organ systems. Students can add images, diagrams, and videos to elaborate on human systems. I would encourage students to be creative with the storytelling aspect of the project. This will help make it memorable and engaging for their classmates when they share their work. This module, along with a variety of other lessons structured around technology, are available on the Pinnguaq Learning Space website. At the Pinnguaq Learning Space, you will find lessons using technology that can be used in your classroom, additional resources, and upcoming events.

List of other resources

  • A guide to programming in TWINE written by Adam Hammond, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. This guide includes videos and detail instructions on how to make your Twine project better.
  • The W3 Schools website has a page that lists all of the HTML colours. These are the colours that can be used in TWINE as background or font colours.
  • The TWINE Wiki page has links to specific actions you may be trying to compete in Twine including adding a video.

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