BP7 RILS 7th Grade Astronomy Brainstorming with Creativity

Brief Overview  

The purpose of this RILS project is to bring a novice based 7th grade classroom into a collaborative online environment to brainstorm using application software to stimulate multiple learning intelligences and creative excitement and team building in a classroom.

Target Audience

My learners will be 7th grade students.  A mix of about 17 girls and about 10 boys. They have a fairly limited background in computers unless it comes from home use.  This would be their first real structured computer class using the Smart Board and collaboration.


At the end of this scenario, the learner will be able to:

  1. Create a mind map utilizing application software with images and/or links to demonstrate their understanding of the material


  • Internet
  • Google+ Hangout
  • Cacoo for Hangouts
  • Google Hangout Sketchpad
  • Google account
  • Projector/Smart Board
  • Computer with camera
  • Audio/Video/Speakers
  • Email address
  • Printer
  • Releases
  • Camera
  • Paper, pens, pencils

Emerging Technology

Mind Node is brainstorming, mind-mapping software that can be developed with images and videos to incorporate a multimedia presentation of ideas. Note: Was not working with the classroom environment going from Mac (me) to Windows (classroom).

  • Decided to use Cacoo for Hangouts and utilize the smart board.  Cacoo https://cacoo.com is a collaborative mind mapping application available through Google Hangouts.
  • Due to bogged down internet and interface problems – while in the middle of teaching switched over to Hangout Sketchpad under Google Docs and quickly taught from there in a collaborative mode using shapes, lines and text.
  • After a completing this task, returned using Google Hangouts to incorporate live chat as well as the Cacoo website outside of Google Hangout to incorporate live speech as well as live collaboration in Cacoo environment.


  1. Reasoning: The students need to learn how to use the computer as a tool to help them with their studies.  This activity will supply them with the necessary background knowledge and vocabulary to later make connections when the lesson is taught in science.
  2. The software: will help students organize thoughts or brainstorm different ideas they might have for a topic.  The topic being brainstormed will help them make connections to natural occurrences that happen in the world related to astronomy.It is an organizational tool that will help them as they progress from being middle school students to being a more independent learner.
  3. Application: By using a new program students will remember the unique and novel experience therefore making the connections of their brainstorming stronger.


  • I will be utilizing Jennifer Tuttle’s Advisory 7th grade classroom via the Internet from Fort Myers, Florida to West Middle School in Nampa, Idaho.
  • The 7th graders will be in class working with me through Google+ Hangout.
  • Through Cacoo, the students will interact in real-time on the smart board and collaborate with each other. Changed to Hangout Sketchpad due to technology issues. We did revisit the Cacoo site on a different day.
  • The students will each in turn come up to the smart board to add to the brainstorming activity regarding astronomy, utilizing multiple intelligences including physical, visual, auditory, interpersonal and naturalization.
  • After completion of the Mind Mapping practice, a print out of the final outcome will be given to students.
  • Reflection on the software, collaboration and process will be asked and received.
  • Capturing a live video via Google Hangouts, as well as screen shots, pictures and alternative video footage

Making Connections

  1. Previous Knowledge: In their science class they are learning about astronomy and therefore are coming into this exercise with some preliminary information, which has primed them for this event.
  2. Relevance: The students can incorporate the use of the software with their existing class as well as other classes using brainstorming and mind mapping to help with future projects and assignments or outside of the school environment
  3. Audience:  The students will be sharing their collaboration with each other and taking this brainstorming activity with them into their respective science classes.


Astronomy Brainstorming w/Creativity

Using internet software application to create a collaborative mind map

Met/exceeded3 pts Did not meet minimum1 pts
List/identify   30 %List and identify different parts of the solar system in a collaborative environment Able to identify planets, solar system, milky way, etc. Participation through out the group No to little participation, unable to name solar system and planets
Discuss   10 %Discuss theories related to solar system/astronomy Group participation, active communication and sharing of ideas, mention of Black Holes and Big Bang Theory No to little participation, unable to name any theories
Mind Map   60 %Create a mind map utilizing application software with images and/or links to demonstrate their understanding of the material Creating a map using the topics brainstormed using shapes, images and/or links No mind map created or very limited creation


Mind Map of Astronomy project



Part One – Learners

  • How did you feel about collaborating together as a group?
  • Did you like what we did?
  • How do you feel your time was spent using the software?
  • Did you like using this type of brainstorming?
  • Do you think you will use this again?
  • How will you use this?

Part Two – Trainer/Teacher

  • Was this an easily accessible format?
  • Did the program provide the learning experience needed?
  • Was there active participation?
  • Were they excited about using the application?
  • Was there collaboration and encouragement from the group?
  • What obstacles appeared in utilizing the software?
  • Were objectives met?
  • What could be improved upon?
You can also view this on Educator Studio

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