Students Bring Gaming App to Life

Students Bring Gaming App to Life
Posted on 02/20/2019
Students Bring Gaming App to LifeArt students paint portraits. English students write biographies. And physics students calculate the distance and velocity of an angry bird in flight. This year students in Dr. Brian Liskey’s ninth-grade physics class used the popular gaming app, Angry Birds, to learn about forces in motion. 

To develop more hands-on STEAM activities, Dr. Liskey introduced the Angry Birds project. Based on the game, in which users catapult multi-colored birds into structures to save their eggs, Dr. Liskey challenged his students to design, build, and modify catapults made of Popsicle sticks. Students followed strict specifications to knock down Dixie Cup structures built by opposing teams. Once built, students could modify and enhance their catapults. 

When the catapults were ready, teams used them to launch marshmallows. The goal was to hit the structure at the weakest point, causing it to fall in the fewest attempts. To hit the structure at precisely the right point, teams had to collectively manipulate the catapult, and launch the marshmallows at varying heights and speeds. During the launch, teams calculated the distance, velocity, and path of their projectiles, learning about forces in motion in a unique and exciting way. Students even created Angry Birds–themed backdrops, catapulting themselves into the gaming-app experience. 

“Students retain knowledge and skills better when they are engaged in unique hands-on activities,” says Dr. Liskey. “When students are challenged to build a device and put it to use, they are actively thinking and evaluating their work. Team activities lead to vibrant discussion, collaboration, and learning in the classroom.” 

It was a memorable activity for Dr. Liskey’s ninth-grade students. The District is proud to offer students unique STEAM activities to inspire lifelong learners.