Teaching Aid Projects

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Student Designers work with a local educator to solve a current curricular challenge by designing a custom teaching aid.

It is the goal of the designer to assist in visual communication for their clients, whether it be advertising an event or branding a company. These skills can also be applied to critical thinking and how one can learn a subject more successfully when they are engaged with well-designed visual teaching aids combined with class instruction.

There are catalogs full of teaching aids currently available, but could they be better? Could they achieve their goal more successfully? These are questions that the designer, will be asking themselves as they begin to investigate how they can help educate the younger minds of our community by using their design skills to develop a unique teaching aid for a teacher in our school system.


2018• Teaching Aid Examples

Chain

Designer:
Michelle Yu, Class of 2019

Client:
Allison Roberts
5th Grade, Washington Elementary

Challenge:
The teacher found that students of grade 5 are usually having a hard time understanding the food chain structures due to the lack of experiences. Also due to the age characteristic of 5th-grade children, they could only be able to concentrate for 20-30 mins.  The challenge here is how to find an interesting way to help students to have a better understanding of some important vocabulary of the food chain such as producer, consumer(herbivore, omnivore, carnivore), decomposer. To help them to understand the relationships between each organism in food chains. Also, to help them to become more familiar with the meaning of arrows in the food chain structure. Which the arrows between each organism in the chain always point in the direction of energy flow - in other words, from the food to the feeder.

Solution:
According to the research online which Children spend more time looking at bright colors as opposed to looking at muted shades or pastels. In order to make this tool grabbing kids’ attention easier. I decided to apply four main colors to make the tool seems more interesting for them. Among these four colors, which I made the color green to represent the producer of the food chain; Red represents the decomposer; The blue represents consumer; yellow represent the sunlight of the ecosystem. 

Also, to help students to learn more about animals that are hardly seen in daily life, I decided to put some information from online sources that could briefly introduce each animal that will appear in this teaching tool. This way students will have this chance to gain more experience from using this teaching tool.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Fraction Master

Designer:
Willem Kern, Class of 2020

Client:
Stephanie Davison
5th Grade, Washington Elementary

Challenge:
The topic my teacher needed addressed by the Teaching Aid was helping teach her students how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. In the past they have played a game named Puzzles; which seemed to have work but not well enough for the students to fully grasp the concept. My design solution stemmed from an idea a professor in the Marietta College Education department presented to me.

Solution:
The final product is called Fraction Master. In the box, there are 12 sets. Each set containing 11 4x4 white boards, with the denominator on the back corresponding to the amount of spaces on the front. Also in the set, there is a red dry erase marker, as well as a black dry erase marker, and of course, an eraser. On top of all of this, there is also a set of instructions in each set for the students to follow, making it as easy as possible for them to understand. While it may seem like there are a lot of instructions, they are very simple and easy to follow. When following these instructions, and playing Fraction Master, it helps the student understand the way fractions add and subtract together on a visual level; usually making it easier to understand than just on a cognitive level. I designed the labels on the outside of the box, the set of instructions in each set, the little tag on each set listing what should be included in each set, as well as the number decals on the back of the white boards and the black lines on the boards were all done by hand by myself. I feel students will have a better understanding of fractions after this and I hope that it helps my teacher with teaching her students this concept.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Learn

Designer:
Scott Cressman, Class of 2020

Client:
Megan Joseph
5th Grade, Warren Middle School

Challenge:
The goal of my teaching aid was to create a way for students to learn, memorize, and retain new vocabulary words. Currently, the students are being taught to use context clues to try to memorize the new vocabulary words they read in class. However, there is such a large number of new words being learned per week and not very many useful ways that students are being offered to learn these words. In addition, the majority of the students at the school live in low-income households but the school offers them in-class access to Chromebooks. Therefore, my goal was to create a sustainable form of curriculum that could be utilized both on and offline in the form of a mnemonic based learning system.

Solution:
My design solution is called Learn and Earn, a mnemonic learning system used to teach students new vocabulary words by utilizing the information they already know. Many of the mnemonics that I have created are funny and engaging for people of all ages, making them easy to remember. Learn and Earn exceptionally addresses the challenges of vocabulary retention by creating a fun and memorable means by which to learn vocabulary.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


What’s Your Value?

Designer:
Megan Horsely, Class of 2019

Client:
Jo Badgley
4th Grade, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
The topic that I received to be addressed by Teaching Aid is 4th grade Economics, more specifically, the effects of competition and supply-demand on prices through projects. This topic has not been taught before in Jo Badgley’s 4th grade class so there was no prior information on how the topic was taught. Jo Badgley was open to any idea and needed help on what exactly she was supposed to teach as well as how to teach it. I needed to create a new and interesting game that would keep 4th graders attention, easily teach them supply and demand, and be fun and competitive.

Solution:
The solution I created to this problem is a collaboration of different elements from three games that I could relate to economics. I chose Monopoly, The Oregon Trail, and Catan to pull different elements from them to create a completely new game. I created a board that is ultimately a giant spinner with interesting graphics to illustrate four different resources. Each player will “own” one of the resources which relates to the game Monopoly and owning properties. I also have cards in the game that are scenarios that relate to real life situations and are similar to scenarios that appear in the game The Oregon Trail. The idea of having resources where the supply on them relies on the dice being rolled is similar to the game Catan. Also, having to rely on the dice being rolled is similar to Monopoly as well because you will never know what will be rolled. The dice is a 6-sided multicolor dice and each color represents something from the game. 4 colors represent the 4 resources, 1 color for the cards, and the other color for the spinner. Players will track their score on the score cards and the first person to receive a 10 on value, the highest possible score, is the winner of the game. This game addresses the objective by the first person to receive the high value wins and the score will keep changing depending on supply and demand of the resources. Overall, I designed a board with design, logo, score card, 28 playing cards, instructions sheet, and the game concept itself.  

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Cosmic Fractions

Designer:
Max Mosey, Class of 2020

Client:
Mollie Runyon
4th Grade, Washington Elementary

Challenge:
Mrs. Runyon and I met two separate times to discuss and brainstorm possible solutions to the subject she thought a teaching aid would be most effective and useful for. She explained that she was going to be introducing her students to fractions soon, and that they would start off by learning equivalent fractions and, by the end of the school year, know how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. The challenge to create a teaching aid that reinforces the identification of equivalent fractions and teaches how to add and subtract fractions step by step was established as the goal.

In an effort to help me come up with possible design solutions, Mrs. Runyon provided me with handouts detailing all of the information on equivalent fractions and how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. She also informed me that she intended on the teaching aid to serve as an activity station for her class’s activity rotations. The class is divided into four to five activity stations with each station having five to six students at a time. Having two decks of cards and two reversible boards will be more than enough material for five to six students to play with.

Solution:
I designed a deck of 32 fraction playing cards. Each card has a fraction printed on it which has an equivalent numerical value to three other fraction cards in the deck. There are eight sets of equivalent fraction cards with four equivalent fraction cards for each set. Each of the eight sets of equivalent fraction cards feature unique visual representations of the fraction on the top right and bottom left of the card. Eight different shapes are used to help students distinguish whether another fraction card is equivalent to one they have. If the two cards have the same shape, then the fraction cards are equivalent. The cards are designed to be able to play Go Fish and War. However, students could simply try to match equivalent fraction cards together without the traditional structure of a card game. Adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators was approached by making a reversible board that has each step of adding and subtracting fractions divided into four distinct sections. This approach was done to help students compartmentalize and break up the process of adding and subtracting fractions by clearly labeling and defining each step of the equation. One side of the board details the steps for subtraction while the other side shows the steps for addition. The board also has concise, step by step written instructions printed on it to help walk students through the process if they don’t know what to do next. The board is designed to be written on by students to write out the work and comes with markers and erasers.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Flipping Problems

Designer:
Kate Berg, Class of 2019

Client:
Lynn Broughton
3rd Grade, Philips Elementary

Challenge:
Mrs. Broughton’s students were having troubles understanding multi-step word problems that pertain to math.

Solution:
The Flipping Problems books help to break down the problems by having the students find the important information and figure it out in steps that are easier to place instead of having all of the information thrown at them all at once. The flip books break each problem down into either 3 or 4 steps. Each step helps the student pull out the important information in the order that they need to do solve the problem. There are only 25 booklets, so there is one per student. They will have to share them and pass them around as they finish each problem. They are dry erase, so they can be reused multiple times.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Guess Where?

Designer:
Maria Mudre, Class of 2019

Client:
Bethany Colvin
5th Grade, Washington Elementary

Challenge:
The Challenge presented to me by my teacher was to create a teaching aid to help kids learn their 50 states capitals, abbreviations and their associated regions. Restrictions she gave me were to not create a puzzle as the children she teaches find them to be babyish. She also did not want a map because the previous student she worked with for the teaching aid assignment made her a map already. The solution I created was to make a board game based off of Guess Who called Guess Where?

Solution:
Guess where includes 2 game boards, one set of state cards, a set of directions, a question list and two dry erase markers. I also designed the decal that is located on the outside of the portfolio case Each card has a description of a state and each player gets one card to start the game and then has to ask questions from the question list to guess the other players state. Each question asked will rule out other states that are on the state board, then the player will cross out the states on the board with the dry erase marker until they guess the correct state. This game is meant to help kids learn their states in a fun and competitive way.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Figurative Flash

Designer:
Angelo Leitner-Wise, Class of 2019

Client:
Marla Cutright
4th Grade, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
In the past, Marla has had difficulty getting her teachers to understand the concept of figurative language and how to use it. Marla gave me 7 figurative language terms that she typically focuses on; idiom, metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, personification, alliteration and irony. The challenge of currently teaching figurative language is that it is largely conceptual and is hard for the students to make concrete connections with. This is typically the first time these students are learning about abstract concepts. In general, these lessons are done with explanations, worksheets, and homework, which leaves out auditory, tactile, and visual learners. Marla mentioned that her 4th graders love playing board games and card games, so this was the basis of the direction that my project went in.

Solution:
My final solution was Figurative Flash: The figurative language matching game. I created 6 sets of 56 figurative language matching cards and figurative language term cards, game rules that were included in the packaging, and 4 buzzers in each set to answer the questions with. In groups of 4 the students will use critical thinking skills in a stimulating way to match figurative language terms with examples of them being used. This game will not only provide another medium for the students to understand these concepts, but also promote discussion, as Marla said they will certainly hold each other accountable for having correct answers. 

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Hopped On Phonics

Designer:
Brittany Curry, Class of 2015

Client:
Tessa Hill
Kindergarten, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
The Hopped on Phonics Game focuses on interactive and hands-on learning with the alphabet and phonics. The game is designed for a kindergarten classroom, but has applications in first grade, as well. The 46 game pieces allow for the students to be a part of the life-size game board and so that each game can be laid out different than the ones before.

Solution:
In order to keep the attention of the students, I took the strategy of throwing in activities that the players will have to take part in should they land on the activity square. This game allows for the students to learn regardless of their learning style (kinesthetic, auditory, or visual).


Smart Read

Educational materials for students to learn "Cause & Effect" using their own storybooks, at their own pace.

Designer:
Caroline Sigmon, Class of 2017

Client:
Diane Hickey
2nd grade Teacher, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
Mrs. Hickey had an open-ended issue and proposed a project focused around reading comprehension, or more specifically, cause and effect. Cause and effect is the principle of causation. Cause is WHY something happens and effect is WHAT happens. This is typically a difficult subject for students to grasp and a very easy one to confuse. Mrs. Hickey requested that the project be able to be utilized by the entire class as well as individual students.

Solution:
I initially proposed creating a storybook accompanied by a series of questions, worksheets and activities all focusing on cause and effect. However, we decided to expand the project and use a collection of existing literature rather than creating a storybook. This makes the project more useful as it can be used over a longer period as a student progresses and develops his or her reading comprehension skills. Additionally, the project can now serve as a tool for any teacher without purchasing a special book as the literature used is most likely found in any 2nd grade classroom or elementary school library. The teaching aid pairs books grouped into four reading levels with activities that increase in difficulty with the reading level.

Access to Materials @ Teachers Pay Teachers


Story Start

A visual aid that explains, demonstrates, and facilitates creative stories in a fun and innovative way. The project should illustrate these criteria, Beginning, Middle, End, Sequencing, Characteristics, Settings, Plot, Conflict, and Resolution.

Designer:
Lexi Callaway, Class of 2016

Client:
Emily Diehl
4th grade Teacher, Putnam Elementary

Challenge:
Mrs. Diehl wanted an aid to help students develop and write fictional stories. I was initially inspired by the game of Apples to Apples and knew it was a popular game at that age. I wanted to integrate cards into my design solution. I wanted a characters, setting and conflict card.

Solution:
My solution was a writing kit that could be used in multiple ways that help break down the elements of a fictional story. 


Scientific Method: Imagination Kits

Educational materials for students to learn the Scientific Method while engaging in fun experiments within a group.

Designer:
Meredith Brandenburger, Class of 2015

Client:
Sandra Kennell
5th Grade, Phillips Elementary

Challenge:
Creating a resource for students to learn about the Scientific Method in a self-guided manner within groups.

Solution:
A series of Exploratory Kits were developed and designed to prompt groups of students to engage the scientific method. Each kit includes several objects that are used for topic-related experiments featured in the flip-book. The flip books guide the students through the scientific process while the students complete the accompanying worksheet.


The Writing Journey

Creative Writing materials that engage young students in the writing process, while addressing challenges that might arise.

Designer:
Jordanne Light, Class of 2017

Client:
Donna Haer
3rd grade Teacher, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
Discussing the project with Mrs. Hauer, we decided we needed to create a product that encouraged creative writing for the classroom. We wanted a product that would be something the whole class could use at one time, not something that would be group specific. I also wanted a product that would be inclusive and easy to use for students with dyslexia. 

Solution:
A set of work sheets and writing prompts that engage students in the "Writing Journey." The creative writing process becomes clear and accessible to students and the materials easily adapt to different learning timelines. In addition, the materials implement the "OpenDyslexic" typeface, which makes them easy to comprehend for students with dyslexia


Ferocious Fractions

A Dinosaur-themed card game to help students learn equivalent fractions in a fun and engaging way.

Designer:
Hailey Bennett, Class of 2018

Client:
Rayann Newton
3rd grade Teacher, Williamstown Elementary

Challenge:
Mrs. Newton wanted a teaching aid that would help her students understand fractions. According to the Common Core Standards, third grade students need to understand equivalent fractions by the end of the year. They often use number lines and other visual aids to learn these concepts. My project needed to make equivalent fractions more approachable, and it needed to work for a class of 25 students, broken into small groups. 

Solution:
My solution is a playing card game with different fractions on the faces. Students can use those cards to play different card games. Instead of matching cards because they are both red sevens (for example), cards are matched when the fractions are equivalent. Number lines on each card make this process easier for beginners. As students become more familiar with the concept, they will rely on the number lines less. Different games, such as Memory, Go Fish, and Old Maid can be played with these cards. The games work for groups of 2-5 students, depending on the game.