Comanche National Sends Kudos To Comanche Middle School!

COMANCHE NATIONAL BANK SPONSOR

Every now and then, I have to begin with a very honest disclaimer and this is one of those times. What I understand about science would not fill a thimble; however, I do know a fabulous teaching tool when I see one and folks, the Comanche Middle School has hit the jackpot this time, and the Comanche National Bank wanted me to tell you all about it!

Having heard the excitement in middle school principal Scott Carlisle’s voice when he told me about a new interactive computer in science teacher Amy Turner’s (I thought you’d recognize Turner!) classroom, I recently visited the school to see just what all the hoopla was about. What I found is something called Z Space, an interactive computer that has 3-D virtual reality capabilities that brings a “whole nuther” angle into the learning process.*

With Z Space, the students can literally pull the hide off of the pig and then begin to take it apart. The one wearing the 3=D glasses is seeing in 3-D, the others are watching in 2-D.

With Z Space, the students can literally pull the hide off of the pig and then begin to take it apart. The one wearing the 3-D glasses is seeing in 3-D, the others are watching in 2-D.

Now, if that mouthful was enough to really confuse you, basically what I mean is that Amy’s classroom now has a very large computer with four cameras along the top of the screen. To go with the computer are a pair of 3-D glasses that have sensors in them as well as a stylus (like the “pencil” you use to sign your name when you get your prescription or write a check at Walmart). The stylus is used to operate the computer instead of a mouse.

With this setup, the teacher and students can literally “pull out” any object and look all around it at the same time. For instance, they can look at the front, back, and the inside of the heart at the same time, and they can actually watch the heart beat and see what all parts are doing at the very same time. AND, believe it or not, the person holding the stylus can even feel those beats in the stylus!

Although you can't see in 3-D, this photo shows students the front, back, and inside of the heart at the same time, and they are able to see it beating and what happens to all with each beat!

Although you can’t see in 3-D in this photo, students are able to see the front, back, and inside of the heart at the same time, and they are able to see it beating and what happens to all with each beat!

Soon, the class will be examining an owl pellet, which the students normally would have dissected. This year, however, they will be doing a virtual dissection. How will they do it? The computer will allow them to remove everything in layers. First they will remove the fur. Next, students will separate the bones that are in the fur. Of course, they will then try to figure out what the owl has eaten.

5th Graders, Luke Wilson and Marki Jones, use Z Space as part of their Science studies.

5th Graders, Luke Wilson and Marki Jones, use Z Space as part of their Science studies. Luke is wearing 3-D glasses, and Marki is wearing 2-D glasses. Luke can actually bring that “thing” right out beside his face if he so chooses.

And every bit of it can be done virtually!

And then, Marki was ready to show Hudson Welch what she had learned.

And then, Marki was ready to show Hudson Welch what she had learned.

“The kids are very excited, and it is a different way of learning. Since we have had it, they want to get on Z Space every day. We have been studying body systems. For instance, one group had the muscular system and one group had the skeletal system and so on. We would research and use Z Space to take those systems apart and examine them. It has worked great!”

I agree with Ms. Turner that the 5th graders are excited, but it was the volunteers, the CHS Chiefs, who REALLY showed it! Pictured are Rebecca Crosson and Payton Nance, who may not have done as much tutoring as usual on this day as they saw the new Z Space for the first time.

I agree with Ms. Turner that the 5th graders are excited, but it was the volunteers, the CHS Chiefs, who REALLY showed it! Pictured are Rebecca Crosson and Payton Nance, who may not have done as much tutoring as usual on this day as they saw the new Z Space for the first time.

Although Turner teaches 5th grade, Z Space is actually designed for grades K-12 and while it works great for advanced science, she explained that it is also equipped with lessons in other subjects such as history and even auto mechanics. Can you just imagine the advantages of being able to take a motor apart virtually before doing it “for real”?

Colten Jones is probably one of the quieter of the Chiefs so his, "This is pretty durn cool," to Kandace Donald spoke volumes as he threw body parts as quickly as he could!

Colten Jones is probably one of the quieter of the Chiefs so his, “This is pretty durn cool,” to Kandace Donald spoke volumes as he threw body parts as quickly as he could!

No, it’s not the classroom of old…not even right here in Comanche, Texas, and the Comanche National Bank sends out big KUDOS to everyone involved in bringing this cutting edge technology to Comanche Middle School and these middle school students!

SMU bound Hunter Thedford was intense as we argued over whether he was dissecting a crawfish, a crab, or a lobster.

SMU bound Hunter Thedford was intense as we argued over whether he was dissecting a crawfish, a crab, or a lobster.

*Bringing you this story was especially special to me because of my nephew, Dillon. If you read his story, you know that his legs were removed and “put back on” when he was six. The surgery was done virtually many times using technology very similar to this before it was actually performed on him.

COMANCHE NATIONAL BANK SPONSOR

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About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to Comanche National Sends Kudos To Comanche Middle School!

  1. David W. Catter, Sr. says:

    In your story about the new teaching tool there in Comanche, you referred to an item used to “pull out any object” as a “stylist”, but you must have meant “stylus” instead based on your description.

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