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When students approach a field trip with the goal of answering their own questions, they get to be in charge of what they learn.

Field trips’ academic and social benefits are well-researched, but these events require thoughtful planning to maximize potential learning in a new and unfamiliar environment. Inquiry-based engagement offers educators a simple, versatile approach to place-based learning that they can adapt to fit any age group or content area. Educators know that lengthy and frequent interactions with physical and social features of an environment can stimulate more productive discussions about its content, leading to meaningful learning and deep connections to that location.

Inquiry techniques like those described below encourage students to pay close attention to their surroundings as they employ scientific thinking to decipher what their observations tell them about their new learning environment and its significance.

Ask Questions and Make Observations

Inquiry begins when students engage with their learning environment. Young learners can become overwhelmed when visiting new places; as the facilitator, you can provide academic, social, and cultural context to help them understand what aspects of the field trip destination they should focus on. Before your excursion, ignite the class’s curiosity by taking a first look at the location’s website or online resources together. 

Students in fourth through eighth grades and high school may be able to conduct brief independent research about the location to share with their peers. Model inquiry for your students by asking open-ended questions: “What service does this place provide to the community? What community events are coming up? What public figures are associated with this location?”

As the facilitator of inquiry, you’ll decide the purpose of your field trip: to make observations that inspire further questions or to collect data related to existing investigations. These goals will require a detailed record of what the participants saw and experienced during the field trip. Students might keep a simple journal to write, draw, or diagram different things they observe; encourage them to express their thoughts creatively through various media. Another option for recordkeeping could be to incorporate technology and adult engagement. You could ask chaperones to take pictures and videos at the students’ direction as their groups explore. 

Allow students time to linger on things that spark their curiosity without the pressure of an itinerary or final grade. It’s tempting to push groups to see everything they can before leaving the location, but remember: Long and frequent interactions with different exhibits or features are more likely to inspire productive discussions later on. Thirty seconds may seem like a low bar for engagement, but any element that can hold a child’s attention for that long has the potential to spark new ideas later on.

Uncover Comparative Questions and Explore Predictions

Questioning is at the heart of inquiry-based learning, but the ultimate objective is identifying questions that lead to critical and complex thinking. This investigation step can occur before departing your field trip location, when you return to the classroom, or even the next day—just don’t miss your chance to capture your students’ enthusiasm and curiosity about the trip.

Encourage students to share their observations and experiences and to look closer at the details they recorded: physical characteristics, spatial arrangements, and sensory qualities. In this step, a KWL (Know, Wonder, Learn) chart can be a helpful tool as students track their connections between the field trip and other personal experiences. Work together to find similarities and differences in the class’s observations.

After reexamining the experience, it’s time for your students to generate some questions that they can investigate further. These investigations may relate to the location, the community it serves, or a topic based on their observations. The key is to let the students generate the questions—this engages them in making meaningful connections to something they deem impactful.

As your learners brainstorm, work with them to rephrase closed-ended questions into new, more complex queries. Ask them to consider the following as they work: “How can this question add to our understanding of the world and how it operates?” and “Who might find this question especially interesting?” Uncovering questions that lead to a critical examination of preconceptions and thinking patterns is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. 

When you determine the purpose of your field trip, you also set expectations for how your students can independently and collaboratively work on their research. Take time for the group to plan and test the action steps of their research in small groups or as a whole class. Your investigators need space to process their successes and struggles as they try new investigative methods.

Reflect on Findings and Share Discoveries

For lasting and impactful learning, inquiry about place-based experiences should extend past the initial excitement of getting out of school to travel somewhere. Reflection is vital to inquiry because it allows the learner to identify effective strategies for future learning. Whether the final reflection product is an informal presentation, a written report, an interpretive art piece, or a public exhibition, it’s important for students to share what they’ve learned with others.

Consider what venues and approaches will allow your learners to reach the widest audience of peers, parents, guardians, and community members outside the classroom. Encourage students to share their experiences through quantitative and qualitative methods, and help them identify the parts of their investigations that are the most important or meaningful.

You don’t need to use every aspect of inquiry-based learning to nurture your students’ attachment to field trip destinations. Incorporating any of these strategies can help connect them to new places through combined experiential learning and collaborative interpretation of shared experiences. Inquiry-based learning empowers students to become creators of knowledge by using their experiences to inspire their explorations of the world around them.

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How To Create Animated Videos Using Videomakerfx

Most businesses already know that not using video is no longer an option. Did you know that 87% of online marketers use video as part of their digital marketing strategy? If your company isn’t using video, you are missing out on a lot of eyeballs on your business message. 

This high demand for videos has resulted in many companies offering programs to make creating videos easier. VideoMakerFX, a template-based video builder for Windows and Mac, is an example of one such software program. 

Table of Contents

It is easy-to-use and helps marketers and business owners create animated videos to promote their message in an engaging and visually appealing way. With VideoMakerFX, you can create animated videos such as:

Animation

Whiteboard

Kinetic text

Logo openers

Corporate presentations

Photo showcases

Lower thirds, and more

Although it is not a free program, it is only a one-time fee of $27, including full developer rights. Below is a tutorial on how to create a video using VideoMakerFX.

Getting Started

After you purchase and download VideoMakerFX, launch it from the Windows Start Menu. If you are using a Mac, launch it from the Applications folder.

After you log in, you will see an intuitive dashboard. See the large arrow pointing to Create project and the description that tells you very clearly how to get started. It says Create a New Project or Open Project to get started.

Create a New Video Add Slides To Your Video

In the pop-up window, see the Slide Theme options on the left for you to select. Within each theme, there are more possible layouts.

The main product comes with many templates. However, you can also purchase additional packs. They even have a membership site where you can get new slides every month.

But there is so much you can do with the basic program. So this article will focus on the main software. If you choose to use all the layouts from one template, this is the easiest way to create your first video.

When you select all the layouts in a theme, they will show up on your storyboard.

Edit The Slides

You will notice many areas where you can make changes to the text. See the arrows under Movement enabled. If you want to move a text area up, down, left, or right, select the Text area, tick off the Movement enabled box and use the arrows to reposition the text.

If you want to add text that doesn’t fit into the space provided, you can make the font size smaller.

You can also change the font type, size, color, text alignment, transparency, slide delay, background effect, and text effects. Play around with the different options to see what you like best.

To change the text, put your cursor in the area that says Your Text, remove what is there and add your own.

Change Images

Some slides only have a background image. See the screenshot below.

You can replace the background image by:

Browsing for a file on your computer

Choosing one from the gallery provided by VideoMakerFX

Clearing the image if you don’t want to include one

See the screenshot below to get an idea of the available options provided in the gallery.

Some of the slides have additional areas where you can add images in addition to changing the background.

Modify Shapes

You can also turn the shapes on or off, change the color, and move them around on the slide. Tick Enable on and off to see which ones can be changed.  

See in the screenshot below that the background of the image is now blue.

Animations

There are two sets of animations, but not all slides offer both. For example, the slide below with the character only provides options for Animation 1.

Note that you can select one of the nine options and move it around using the arrows (circled below). You can also choose not to use any animations.

For the slides that come with two sets of animations, the process is the same as described above. 

Change the Slide Time Length

Each slide comes with a standard amount of time allotted to it. You can also delay the slide or end the delay, which will add time before the side begins or make it last longer (see circled area below).

Add Audio

If you have your own file (it must be .mp3), you can upload it as well. You can add a voiceover file to any music or use it alone by uploading the .mp3. 

Note that there are separate setting options with the same controls for a music file and a voiceover file. 

Preview Your Video Export Your Video

It’s now time to render or export your video. Select Export project from the top bar navigation. Browse to select the directory and filename of your exported video file. 

You can also select the size with 1280 x 720 (HD) being the highest resolution. Pay attention to the Quality option. The default setting is Average. You will get the best quality – but it will take longer to upload – if you choose the Perfect option.

The directions above show you how to create a simple video using one of the many templates from VideoMakerFX.

The more you use the product, the easier it will become. With experience, you will learn how to mix and match Slide Layouts from different Slide Themes to create a unique video that doesn’t look exactly like the template.

How To Create A Zip File Using Python?

ZIP is an archive file format used to for lossless data compression. One or more directories or files are used to create a ZIP file. ZIP supports multiple compression algorithms, DEFLATE being the most common. ZIP files have .zip as extension. In this article we are going to discuss how to create a Zip file using Python.

Creating uncompressed ZIP file in Python Using shutil.make_archive to create Zip file

Python has a standard library shutil which can be used to create uncompressed ZIP files. This method of creating ZIP file should be used only to organize multiple files in a single file.

Syntax

Following is the syntax of shutil.make_archive −

shutil.make_archive(‘output file name’, ‘zip’, ‘directory name’) Example

Following is an example to create ZIP file using shutil.make_archive −

import

shutil

import

os

.

path archived

=

shutil

.

make_archive

(

'E:/Zipped file'

,

'zip'

,

'E:/Folder to be zipped'

)

if

os

.

path

.

exists

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

)

:

print

(

archived

)

else

:

print

(

"ZIP file not created"

)

Output

Following is an output of the above code −

E:Zipped file.zip Creating compressed ZIP file in Python

Compressed ZIP files reduce the size of the original directory by applying compression algorithm. Compressed ZIP files result in faster file sharing over a network as the size of the ZIP file is significantly smaller than original file.

The zipfile library in python allows for creation of compressed ZIP files using different methods.

Creating ZIP file from multiple files

In this method, ZipFile() creates a ZIP file in which the files which are to be compressed are added. This is achieved by creating object of ZipFile using with keyword and then writing the files using .write() method.

Example

Following is an example to create ZIP file using multiple files −

import

os

from

zipfile

import

ZipFile

with

ZipFile

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

,

'w'

)

as

zip_object

:

zip_object

.

write

(

'E:/Folder to be zipped/Greetings.txt'

)

zip_object

.

write

(

'E:/Folder to be zipped/Introduction.txt'

)

if

os

.

path

.

exists

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

)

:

print

(

"ZIP file created"

)

else

:

print

(

"ZIP file not created"

)

Output

Following is an output of the above code −

ZIP file created Creating ZIP file from entire directory

In this method, a for loop is used to traverse the entire directory and then add all the files present in the directory to a ZIP file which is created using ZipFile.

Example

Following is an example to create ZIP file from entire directory −

import

os

from

zipfile

import

ZipFile

with

ZipFile

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

,

'w'

)

as

zip_object

:

for

folder_name

,

sub_folders

,

file_names

in

os

.

walk

(

'E:/Folder to be zipped'

)

:

for

filename

in

file_names

:

file_path

=

os

.

path

.

join

(

folder_name

,

filename

)

zip_object

.

write

(

file_path

,

os

.

path

.

basename

(

file_path

)

)

if

os

.

path

.

exists

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

)

:

print

(

"ZIP file created"

)

else

:

print

(

"ZIP file not created"

)

Output

Following is an output of the above code −

ZIP file created Creating ZIP file from specific files in a directory

In this method, lambda function is used to filter files with specific extensions to be added in the ZIP file. The lambda function is passed as parameter to a function in which the files are filtered based on the extension.

Example

Following is an example to create ZIP file using specific files in a directory −

import

os

from

zipfile

import

ZipFile

def

zip_csv

(

directory_name

,

zip_file_name

,

filter

)

:

with

ZipFile

(

zip_file_name

,

'w'

)

as

zip_object

:

for

folder_name

,

sub_folders

,

file_names

in

os

.

walk

(

directory_name

)

:

for

filename

in

file_names

:

if

filter

(

filename

)

:

file_path

=

os

.

path

.

join

(

folder_name

,

filename

)

zip_object

.

write

(

file_path

,

os

.

path

.

basename

(

file_path

)

)

if

__name__

==

'__main__'

:

zip_csv

(

'E:/Folder to be zipped'

,

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

,

lambda

name

:

'csv'

in

name

)

if

os

.

path

.

exists

(

'E:/Zipped file.zip'

)

:

print

(

"ZIP file created with only CSV files"

)

else

:

print

(

"ZIP file not created"

)

Output

Following is an output of the above code −

ZIP file created with only CSV files

Field Hockey Terriers Off To Winning Start

Field Hockey Terriers Off to Winning Start Reigning Patriot League champs host Maine Friday

Tri-captain Ellie Landsman (Questrom’17), 2024 Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, looks to lead the Terriers to a third straight Patriot League title. Photos by Scott Ellis, BU Athletics

“We’re definitely not pleased,” says tri-captain Amanda Cassera (SAR’17). “One of our biggest concentrations this season is winning our out-of-conference games—getting our RPI [ratings percentage index] up. This way we can face someone a bit lower ranked in the NCAA first round. And if we get to the elite eight, we know anything can happen.”

So far this season, indications are that the team could well return to the NCAA tournament. The undefeated Terriers opened the season with an impressive 2-1 win over number 16 Northwestern University in the first round of the Wildcat Classic and two days later claimed the Wildcat Classic title, defeating the University of New Hampshire 4-3. They took down the Northeastern Huskies 2-1 in overtime in last Friday’s home opener. It was another one-goal win two days later, when the team defeated Miami University 2-1. All this with the loss of leading scorer and First Team All-American Sofi Laurito (COM’16) and Third Team All-American Rachel Coll (Questrom’16) to graduation last spring.

With the intent of extending their unbeaten streak to five, the team hosts the University of Maine tomorrow, Friday, September 9, at 4 p.m.

The squad of 18 Terriers returned 9 of last year’s top scorers. Cassera and Allie Renzi (Questrom’18) lead the offense so far this year, combining for 14 of the team’s 29 points. Cassera, a Preseason All-Patriot League teamer, has been especially impressive, tallying a goal in three of the four contests, including the game-winner against Northwestern.

The offensive play of Renzi and Cassera, as well as of tri-captain Hester van der Laan (ENG’17), the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, has resulted in the Terriers’ leading the conference in goals and assists per game, for the best offense in the league.

“We got a lot of veterans back this year and the scoring is across the board, which is a testament to our depth,” says head coach Sally Starr. “But we’re not happy. We know we can score more—we just need to be more disciplined and poised around the goal. And if we score more, it helps everyone, including our win total.”

On the defensive side, reigning Goalkeeper of the Week Cammy Jensen (CAS’17) has performed remarkably this season. Jensen is second in the league in save percentage and average goals allowed per game.

“We have a mantra, Fitter, faster, smarter, and she’s embodied that,” Starr says. “She’s in the best shape of her life and the results are showing. She hasn’t had to make a lot of saves, but some of the ones she’s made have been unbelievable. I’m really proud of how far she’s come.”

In front of Jensen is a sturdy defensive line, steered by midfielder Ellie Landsman (Questrom’17), one of the captains. A corecipient of the team’s Unsung Hero Award last year, Landsman is not only extremely skilled, but has a reputation for inspiring her teammates.

“Ellie has so much poise and confidence on the ball,” says Cassera. “She’s huge on both sides. She keeps everyone calm when we get a little frantic and gives us an extra spark when we’re lazy. She can get the ball up the field in a hurry, make a clutch score or a huge tackle. She does everything.”

Early successes notwithstanding, the Terriers know they face a tough schedule in the weeks ahead: 5 of their 17 regular-season opponents qualified for the 2024 NCAA tournament, and 2 of them have won the last three NCAA tournaments, Syracuse University in 2024 and the University of Connecticut in 2013 and 2014.

“People might look at us as underdogs when it comes to the national tournament,” says Landsman. “But we feel really confident, especially with all the work we’ve put in this summer and last spring. We feel like it’s even, and on any given night, we can beat anyone.”

The Boston University field hockey team faces the University of Maine tomorrow, Friday, September 9, at 4 p.m., at New Balance Field, 286 Babcock St. Admission is free and open to the public. The Patriot League Network will broadcast the game live. Find the team’s 2024 schedule here.

Emmanuel Gomez can be reached at [email protected].  

Explore Related Topics:

How To Create A Text Mask In Canva Using Letter Frames

If you’re unsure how to create text masks in Canva then this is the article for you.

We’ll take you through how to do it using letter frames in the 3 simple steps.

Let’s get started.

How to create a text mask in Canva:

Optional steps:

Step 1: Find your letter frames

To start things off you need to find the letter frames for your text masks.

There are quite a few letter frames already available on Canva, we’ve put together a template that contains all the letter frames we could find on Canva, you can access that via this link.

We also created 30+ custom letter frames that you can find in this article: Custom Canva letter frames.

Alternatively, you can simply go to the ‘Elements’ tab in the Canva editor and search for ‘letter frame’:

Searching for letter frames

You’ll likely have to scroll down a bit to find the letter frames you want in the same style or you can narrow your search to find the exact letters you need e.g. “letter D frame”.

Step 2: Select the letters to make up your word(s)

Now you simply need to add the letter frames you want to make up your text masks, and position them on the canvas:

Adding and aligning your letter frames

Step 3: Drag photos into the frames

The last step is to drag photos into your letter frames (you can also add gradients, patterns, and even videos!).

You can upload your own photos or go to the ‘Photos’ tab and search for suitable images, and then simply drag them one by one into the letter frames on your canvas.

Just make sure to drag them directly over your letter frames so they snap in place when released:

Adding photos to the frames

Repositioning the photo in the frame

Optional steps

If you want to spruce up your text masks even more, or create some cool looking effects then here are some ideas for additional steps:

Create a continuous image

Continuous image effect

Select a photo you like (wide horizontal images work best)

Drag it and add it to the first letter frame in your word

Resize the image so it covers the width of your word and align it so the left side of the image lines up with the first letter frame

Resizing the image to cover the width of the letter frames

Repeat the steps with every letter frame in your word and you’ll create the ‘continuous image’ effect

And that’s it

Create a drop shadow effect

Drop shadow effect

Here’s how:

Group your letter frames and then center them on the canvas

Copy the group of frames and paste

Group the copied frames and then center them so they are covering the original frames perfectly

Change the color of the copied frames to what you want

With the arrow keys move the copied frames down 5 to 10 pixels, and 5 to 10 pixels to the right or left

Move the group of copied frames down one layer so they’re behind the original frames

And you’ve made a drop shadow effect

You can also make the copied layer slightly transparent if you think that makes it look better

3D effect

3D effect

Here’s how:

Group your letter frames and then center them on the canvas

Copy the group of frames and paste

Group the copied frames and then center them so they are covering the original frames perfectly

Change the color of the copied frames to what you want

With the arrow keys move the copied frames down 5 pixels, and 5 pixels to the right or left

Move the group of copied frames down one layer so they’re behind the original frames

Repeat with however many layers you want but add a further 5 pixels to every additional layer that you add i.e layer 2 is 5 pixels down + right, layer 3 is 10 pixels down and right, layer 4 is 15 pixels down and right, and so on

And that’s your 3D effect created

We also followed similar steps to create this version (we just moved the copied frames down in this version not to the right or left):

3D effect 2

Outline effect

Outline effect

Here’s how:

Group your letter frames and then center them on the canvas

Copy the group of frames and paste

Group the copied frames and then center them so they are covering the original frames perfectly

Change the color of the copied frames to what you want your outline to be

With the arrow keys move the copied frames 5 to 10 pixels down, and 5 to 10 pixels to the right

Move the group of copied frames down one layer so they’re behind the original frames

Repeat this process another three times but do the following:

5 to 10 pixels down and 5 to 10 pixels to the left

5 to 10 pixels up and 5 to 10 pixels to the right

5 to 10 pixels up and 5 to 10 pixels the left

And you’ve created an outline effect

Mockup/Textured effect

Mockup/Textured effect

Here’s how:

Add a photo of a texture or surface as the background of your design (e.g. rocky surface, leather, etc.)

Add photos to the letter frames that work well with the background photo you’ve selected

Make your letter frames slightly transparent

And you’ve created a mockup/textured effect

Here are a couple more examples of mockup/textured effects that we made:

Mockup/Textured effect 2

Mockup/Textured effect 3

Related articles

Wrapping things up

If you want to quickly access all the letter frames on Canva organized into sets then go to this template we created. You can also use some of the 30+ custom Canva text masks we made!

We hope this article helps and inspires you.

See Iceland’s Lava Field From Space

Lava Field

Satellite imagery of the new lava flow in Iceland

Sometimes Iceland really lives up to its name. For instance, in the picture above, the entire country is basically covered in snow and ice. With one notable exception. See that big black dot in the middle? No, not in the lower left–that’s the largest natural lake in Iceland, Lake Þingvallavatn, which is a favorite for snorkelers and scuba divers. We’re talking about the beauty mark in the center-right, which is an absolutely massive lava flow originating from a fissure of the volcano Bárðarbunga.

It might not look like much from that angle, but there’s a lot going on in there. Here it is in an image taken by NASA on January 3, where you can see the lava lakes and steam rising from the eruption:

Lava Field, January 3, 2024

IDL TIFF file

As of January 18, when the picture at the top was taken by NASA’s MODIS instrument, the lava field measured 84.6 square kilometers in size, or about the area of Manhattan. It has already eclipsed the size of Lake Þingvallavatn. Just so you can make a full comparison, here is an image of Iceland taken in the winter of 2004:

Iceland 2004

Erik Klemetti over at Wired notes that the lava field, which has been referred to as Holuhraun, will probably be getting a new name soon. Holuhraun is technically the name of the older lava field that this one is superseding. By law, the local community in Iceland gets to decide what the name of the new feature will be.

And just because it’s great, here’s a picture of the eruption from September 2014, just a month after Holuhraun Part 2 began erupting:

Iceland Eruption

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