Mr. sarabia | Periods 2, 4 & 5 | Spring 2019
Unit 1 - Introduction to the class
The purpose of this unit is to introduce the rules, norms and expectations, basic procedures and the assignment calendar for the class. Most importantly, we address and answer a fundamental question: Why is this class important? Students are introduced to the importance of visuals and technology in various scientific fields and they understand the sequence of the projects in the class.
Unit 2 - History: Innovations & Innovators
The purpose of this unit is to introduce students to the long history of scientific and technological innovations and the innovators that have made the modern world possible. Students have an opportunity to research and learn more about subjects who discovered or invented the tools we use today: computers, software, microchips, search engines, etc. Students also engage in writing for publication and expand their skills in Photoshop and InDesign as they create a real magazine layout.
Students are assigned a particular innovator. Examples of innovators include: Ada Lovelace, the first computer programer; Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web; and Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, etc.. In order to widen the depth of understanding about this particular subject, the project consists of various components: The student uses Adobe Photoshop to create a magazine cover featuring their subject. They write a featured article describing the contributions, the biography and the importance of their subject and create a layout of this article in Adobe InDesign. They create a product ad that advertises the particular invention or discovery made by their subject in Photoshop. Finally, all the students’ articles and ads are compiled into a single digital magazine that will be published on the sachighmedia.com website. Students learn history by applying research techniques, learn how to do layouts for publication and sharpen their skills on sophisticated graphic design programs.
Unit 3 - Life: Bio-Graphics
The purpose of this unit is to create clear and effective models and illustrations that describe, explain or reveal the mysteries of the natural world. Students make use of Adobe Illustrator, a vector based program to create projects that deepen their understanding of the properties of periodic elements, the structure of the DNA molecule, the components of an animal cell and the taxonomy of life. Students merge technology and visuals to better understand chemical principles and biological organisms.
The main projects/assessment of this class if for students to create an infographic of the tree of life. The tree of life is a metaphor for the visual representation of the taxonomic classification of an organism. In biology, taxonomy is used to categorize living things and to organize these organisms into groups by the features they share. Students research 16 organisms and show how these organisms are related to each other by creating a visual representation of their relationships. In the course of this project, students learn about species, classes, orders, phylums, domains and kingdoms of animals. They also learn how humans fit into this picture. At the same time, students develop their skills in using the tools and effects of Adobe Illustrator, as they create complex, but clear scientific models.
Unit 4 - Math Models & Infographics
The purpose of this unit is for students to learn how to create statistical infographics. An infographic comes from combining the words “information” with “graphic.” As its name suggests, it is a visual way of presenting information. In this case, that information is human statistics. Infographics have the advantage of being able to explain relatively complicated concepts or processes in a simple way that any person can understand, and the students will develop and apply this skill.
Using Adobe Illustrator, students will create an infographic of their own. The topic of the infographic is looking at humanity through a simple analogy: Imagine that the entire human population (currently over 7.6 billion people) could be condensed into a society of just 100. That means each person would represent about 76 million people.
Through this project, students learn how to read statistics and convert them to visual forms. They learn about the current state of the world in human terms through statistics, and they learn how to create and manipulate shapes, text and images in Adobe Illustrator.
Unit 5 - Forces: Physics
The purpose of this unit is to explore the practical applications of 3D animation programs in the field of Physics. Students learn how to use computer models to create realistic simulations of everyday phenomena. Students apply the realistic physics engine in Cheetah3D to create objects and alter their mass, velocity, acceleration, force of gravity, friction and angular momentum. Students learn how to manipulate these numbers along with basic physics equations to get different desired effects and animations.
The main assessment/project for this unit is to create a realistic model of a pool table. Pool is a fun game that is also full of physics. Students first learn how to model the table in a 3D world. They then create the spheres that make up the moving objects. They use the program to define the properties of each ball, including the mass, acceleration, angular momentum, friction etc.. Students will then apply basic physics formulas like “f=ma” to determine the specific behavior of the cue ball. Each student will end up with a different result depending on the choice of physical properties. Through this project, students learn how physics works by learning to create simulations in a 3D program in the virtual world, and furthermore, they learn how these concepts are applied in the real world.
Unit 6 - Astronomy
The purpose of this unit is to explore the practical applications of 3D animation programs in the field of Astronomy. Students learn about the solar system while sharpening their skills with more advanced techniques in Cheetah3D. Often, students have no conceptual visual of how big or small cosmic scales are and so this unit is designed to provide them with a clear mental model of their place in the cosmos and spark their curiosity to think about the universe beyond Earth.
For the main assessment/project in this unit, students create two 3D simulations in Cheetah3D. First, they create a model of the planets of the Solar System to scale, showing their relative size to each other, including their rotation speed. Through this model, students realize the actual scales of the bodies of the solar system, the immense size of the sun and Jupiter, the minuscule size of earth and the other planets in comparison. They learn how long it takes to have a day in Saturn versus Venus. Students then expand this model model of the solar system by showing the orbital periods of each planet, meaning how long it takes each planet to go around the sun. Through these projects, students learn about about ratios and scales, how to use keyframes and animate 3D objects, how to create realistic textures and render complex 3D animations.
Unit 7 - Engineering
The purpose of this unit is to explore the practical applications of 3D animation programs in the field of Engineering. Virtually, any modern engineered product, vehicle, piece of infrastructure, or piece of technology is first modeled in a computer using sophisticated drafting programs. In this unit, students will learn that process and be able to create realistic models of their their own by learning advanced 3D modeling and animation techniques.
For the final project, students research and write a brief report of a successful NASA space mission throughout the past 50 years. Students then use Cheetah3D to create a realistic model of the spacecraft used in this mission. Examples include: the Hubble Telescope, any of the Apollo spacecraft, the Curiosity Mars Rover, or the International Space Station. Students use actual schematics, if available, or multiple reference pictures. Students model the spacecraft using 3D objects such as polygons, polyhedrons, tubes, cylinders, spheres, and modifier tools such as booleans, sweeps, lathes and extrusions to create their model to a high degree of accuracy. Students learn about these space missions as well as how actual designers apply technology to create the models that end up becoming the real spacecrafts.