Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pinball Project Launch Presentation

The Presentation

Did you miss anything during the Launch on Friday February 20? Do you want to show your parents what we are up to? Did you forget to write down some of the dates? Maybe you want to see the videos again?

Click this link to go to our Google Slides presentation document.

Other Links

Listed in the presentation are several links, which are listed below for your convenience.
-Mr. Hanns Pinball YouTube playlist
-Education Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) Bring IT Together Conference Presentation Summary (Oct 2014)
-Maker Faire Toronto 2014 project summary (Nov 21-22, 2014)
-Toronto Star Article: Donview at Maker Faire (Nov 23, 2014)

Learning Goal

I will use the creation of a pinball machine to facilitate my learning in my core subject areas for the majority of Term 2, and to develop my learning skills in a group context (particularly Collaboration, Initiative, Responsibility)

Success Criteria

I will know that I have been successful when I have a complete, functioning pinball machine
  • that is structurally and mechanically sound
  • that plays smoothly, and dependably
  • that effectively teaches a topic in Canadian History or Geography that is of interest to me
  • that has an integrated, interactive electronic story/animation programmed in scratch based on the social studies topic

Curriculum Connections


  • fractions, decimals
  • percents, rates
  • probability
  • pythagorean theorem
  • circles (circumference, area)
  • cylinders (volume, surface area)
  • translation, reflection, rotation


  • systems (inputs / outputs)
  • levers, simple machines


  • reading
  • technical, procedural writing
  • media analysis, creation
  • collaboration
  • oral communication


  • inquiry based topic selection
  • students choose a topic from the curriculum that will form the foundational theme of the pinball game

Design & Technology, Information Technology (DT/IT)

  • programming, animation
  • physical computing
  • 3D design
  • 3D printing
  • safety
  • building
  • hand tools, power tools

Mark these dates in your calendar:

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Why Full Tilt STEM?

Welcome to our new blog! We are Alana Guinane, David Hann, Jennifer Mohamed, and the classes of 81 and 84 at Donview Middle Health & Wellness Academy.

This is it, we're diving in, ready to go Full Tilt at this major Transdisciplinary STEM project. As David referenced in a blog post last year (when he tried this project for its first iteration) we've crossed our own Rubicon, there is no turning back!

So we're going to go with the phrase "Full Tilt STEM" as our brand for this year's Pinball Project, and here's why we really like it!

  • It makes a connection to pinball machines obviously, in the tilt reference. Perhaps some of the younger generations won't get the reference (which means we need to have a decent logo or image that will reinforce the brand meaning). However for older generations, who may have fond memories of spending many days of their youth hanging out at arcades, this will be more obvious.

  • It tells the audience that it is some kind of STEM project, and unless you've been living in a bubble for the last few years, you know that STEM (science technology engineering & math) is one of the latest big edu-buzz words. To be honest we've been more or less doing STEM & IBL in our DT (Design & Technology) classrooms for nearly 2 decades, but now this phrase has caught on and so it is only logical that this acronym is part of our brand in some way.

  • It is often said that Maker Education (#MakerEd) is messy; in fact learning in general is messy. You get a bit of a sense of this pandemonium in the phrase Full Tilt, even a partial loss of control. Learning involves calculated risk taking - something we want to model both as learners, and as innovative educators. As an obvious example, when running at full tilt if you stumble or mis-step and bump into something it hurts! You also get a sense of the randomness and chaos of a pinball game, and the notion that we're going for it - "Go Big or Go Home". Randomness can also reference our math curriculum - theoretical vs. experimental probability.

Credit for the brand idea for this project needs to go to Brendan Snow, David's teacher candidate, who just arrived last week and who suggested the phrase during our marathon evening meeting.

A google search reveals that the phrase Full Tilt is not new. It is a line of ski boots, but more significantly, was a feature computer game in a number of Windows OS's. Even though the name of the full computer game wasn't commonly known, one of the tables from the game was. The Space Cadet pinball table has been played by millions, if not billions of people through Windows XP.

Here's an article about programming, and why Space Cadet Pinball (also called Full Tilt) didn't live beyond Windows XP.

Wikipedia has a summary of the game, including how to play. This might be useful to read as students begin brainstorming their own game rules and table layout.

So. With all that being said: Here we go then!