Ideas for activities
We already have a large number of activities in GCompris (about 120) and we are always looking at adding more. An important aspect is to keep the project focused on its core value: educating young children.
Each activity requires a good thinking of the educational aspect including a progressive difficulty, it must be easy to understand what we expect from the children by providing instruction and in game guidance.
Currently our biggest weakness are in the area of music, reading/writing and language.
For young kids, we could create an activity where they must classify object from larger to smaller, and so on. The size classification could be based on the real-life sizes. For example, a car is larger than a light bulb, but the actual images could be equal size.
We could also have classification based on shape, e.g. round apples and wheels, and rectangular books and doors.
Could teach also "in front of" and "behind" concept.
A symmetrical drawing activity, with various forms of symmetries. See this example.
Double entry tables
We already have one in this area based on the puzzle activity engine. But is is not flexible enough and it would be better to have an activity dedicated to this concept.
In that activity, we could add :
- filling incomplete tables. The filled stop may be done by selecting images or by entering text or number. For example, it may also be used to try the children on multiplication table. - choosing the right heading for rows and columns of an already filled-in table
Of course we have to make it much simpler and stick to point, line, segment, perpendicular, parallel and circle.
This can be used: - as a free geometrical drawing activity - as a directed one, the children is given a set of instructions like draw a 3 cm diameter circle at position (3,3).
There is a possibility to save and load a drawing.
A graph tool
Like the drawing, animation, wordprocessor, we could provide a graph tool to let kids create simple graph for their experiences. They could load/save them. We could see it as a simplified spreadsheet. Here is an online example.
Mathematical numeral systems
An activity to explain the different base. It present the concept, let the children play around with a virtual base counter and then ask questions to transform numbers from one base to another.
Musical notation introduction
A la "Rosegarden" - with more simple features, just drag n' drop notes on a score and hit play button.
The computer plays a melody and the children must replay it on a virtual keyboard.
TicTacToe and variations
Here some ideas to steal. TicTacToe and others variants of same game (QuinzeVainc, Sentier, Mots and Lettres].
Having a dominoes activity. It would be very nice, and maybe not too difficult to write (I don't speak for myself...) Easy levels could be with colors only, then images, medium level, images and dots, high level, only dots.
Nine Men's Morris
Nine Men's Morris is an abstract strategy board game for two players that emerged from the Roman Empire. The game is also known as Nine Man Morris, Mill, Mills, Merels, Merelles, and Merrills in English.
This game is still very popular in some place of the world. Having this type of game in GCompris brings the opportunity to expose children to games they won't find otherwise. It would complete our board activity besides chess, oware, connect4, ... This idea has been proposed by Phanindra Ramesh Challa.
Checkers is a board game in the spirit of the chess game. It would be nice to have one beside our chess game.
Reading / Writing
Image / Letter association
Its a classical in terms of learning letter, an image is presented to the children and he must click on the keyboard the starting letter of the image (like Apple = A). At this stage we don't check the case.
At the first stage of this activity, all our images with the voices are introduced to the children. He can see the associated image, word and letter and click on them to hear the letter and word spoken.
Add a new type of memory in our memory type activity in which the children is propose card with upper and lower case and he must associate them.
Dictation of letters
A set of letter is spoken, the children must write them in the correct order. As the level increase, there are more letters and the spoken delay between them decreases.
Dictation of words
A word is displayed and/or spoken the children must re-type it. Then the word is spelled letter by letter and the children must type it.
Letter in which word
A letter is written and/or spoken. Some words are displayed, the children must find the word or the words in which this letter appears.
Letter common to several words
Several words are displayed, the children must find the letter which is common to all of them.
The children is proposed a set of letter and an entry area. He must enter all the letters in the alphabetical order in the text area.
A text story is displayed, the children must read it. Once done, a number of questions about it are are asked. The texts may be simple and written by ourself or taken from public domain famous texts.
There are several levels depending on the text difficulty. Also at first the text and the questions are visible, then when the children has completed the reading the text disappears and the questions are asked.
Text with holes
A text story is displayed, the children must read it. Once done, another text, related to the first contains holes and must be filled by the children.
A set of activities in the area of language learning. These activities should help a children learn or discover a foreign language. To achieve this, we can base this work on the shtooka project which provides a large set of recorded words.
Extend GCompris core to include the concept of a target language for that this can be done from a single place. We currently have the ability to set a target language in some relevant activities, this must be changed to use the new target language facility.
Dictionary with word definition
In order to create reading, writing or language learning activities we need to have a well formatted list of words for each language. Some work has been done as seen in this page: Wiktionary_to_XML.
We already have an activity to learn how to read on an analog clock. This could be enhanced to learn how to tell the time in a given language (like 10 past 4).
At some point while learning a new language it is mandatory to learn a set of words in a given area. In this activity we propose a set a different topics and for each the children must learn a set of words.
For example in the transportation topic, the children is proposed the word car and must click on the corresponding image.
The activity proposes different modes depending on a high level mode and the difficulty level: - A word is spoken or written in the source language, the children must find it through an image, or written in the target language. - A work is spoken or written in the target language, the children must find it through an image, or written in the source language.
Environment protection section
We can make a new section aimed to introduce children to environment care. Some ideas of activities are:
- Garbage classification (Level 1: Organic and inorganic; high level: Organic, glass, metal, wood, danger garbage, etc)
- Water cycle (already done!)
- Simple oxygen cycle
- Saving power. To mark which activities save energy and which ones do not.
- Global warming. To mark which activities are good and which ones are not.
Primary light colors
The child will control the intensity of three colored beams that are to be projected to a wall. The controls should only have fixed posible levels, which its number according to the activity level. The user should generated a shown colour by manipulating the three controls.
One simple activity for show the seven color components of the white light. One idea is to make a cloud rained by click and the sun rise in the same way. So, and rainbow will appear. Maybe a zoom to one individual drop can be done in order to show the incoming white light and the seven outgoing colored beams.
Plant growing simulator
The idea here if to let children take care of a virtual garden. The children have a garden and some plants in it. They must take care of it with actions like :
- seeding a specific plant with given caracteristics
- putting water on the plants when they need some
- get the fruits when ready
A camera simulator
Help the children understand the different concept used in photography, focal, focus, iso, ... We could let the children take a picture and simulate the rendering given the children's virtual camera settings.
The morse code maybe a funny way to discover a lot of concepts. And it would be really fun to be able to discuss with Tux this way. It can be done in 2 side, Tux talks in morse and the children have the alphabet and must report the text. On the other side, the children write a message to Tux (it is a little bit more complex to implement).
We already have an electricity activity, it works fine but it could be improved in a number of ways:
- Ability to rotate components to ease the layout.
- Add a 7 segments display in electricity. Could be used to introduce binary to children.
- The wires should be of different colors to let the children see that when they cross they don't touch each others.