Week 4: Activity 3 – Create an educational graphic using layers

I have a created the following layered graphic in Adobe Photoshop.

Each portion of the life cycle is a different layer and it progresses as follows:

The steps I used in creating my layered graphic:

  1. I found individual images of a star at all the different points in its lifecycle using Google Image Search with the license settings set to Labeled for Reuse with Modification.
  2. I then cropped all of the images into a circular shape using the Smart Lasso Tool in Preview.
  3. I created a background layer using the stars in the night sky and grouped it with the title.
  4. For each individual portion of the star’s lifecycle, I grouped together the layers containing the image, the text, and the arrow.

I could use this image in my grade 9 science class by opening up the Photoshop document and bring up one layer at a time until the whole lifecycle was displayed.  Another option would be to put all the png files for all 6 layers into a slideshow and then click through them one at a time.





Week 3: Activity 2 – Create Educational Graphics

Graphic #1:

Graphic #1 is a transformational graphic.  According to Richard Mayar, “A common use of transformational visuals is to teach or provide reference to the steps needed to perform a procedural task” (19).  In this graphic, the specific steps necessary to solve a linear equation problem are outlined in blue and the problem itself is solved step by step.  This graphic aligns with the Alberta Grade 9 Math curriculum and I would either use it as an anchor graphic in my classroom, put on my class website, include it in a review package or text it to the students as a homework resource. This graphic meets all the guiding principles outlined by Mayar in that it provides a functional role both in and out of the classroom and it fits well into the context of the math 9 classroom (22-25).  When creating the graphic I ensured I used a variety of actions and tools such as; using contrasting colours, aligning information, and using a variety of shapes. 

Graphic #2 is a relational graphics.  According to Mayar, “relational visuals are used to communicate quantitative relationships among two or more variables” (19).  The above bar graph that I created uses contrasting colours, shape and information chunking as some of its actions/tools.  This graphic meets the guiding principles in that it would work well in the context of an electricity lesson in a grade 9 science class, based on the Alberta curriculum.  It is also very functional in that it not only relays information to the students it also opens up an avenue for discussion.  For example, the teacher could ask students to hypothesize why there is no data for 6V (yellow) and 9V (green) when the resistance is 5Ω. 


Clark, R.C & Lyons, C. (2010). Three views of instructional visuals, In Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 15-28.

Mayer, R.E. (2014). Research-Based Principles for Multimedia Learning.
The presentation was given at Harvard University, 5 May 2014.

Keith Webster. Graphics for Learning

Week 3 – Activity 1 – Crop a Photo

Being that I am currently teaching the Matter and Chemical Change Unit in my Science 9 class I decided to use the following picture of a Periodic Table which I downloaded from Wikimedia Commons (here).


My school district has an Adobe Enterprise account and I have really been wanting to work with Adobe Photoshop so I chose to use this platform to crop my photo.

I cropped out the following portions of the original periodic table:

  • The group and period labels.
  • The individual element key.
  • The names of the different families/groups.
  • The electron configuration blocks key.
  • The inner transition elements.

This cropped version of the periodic table could be used in a summative assessment task. Not only does it exclude many elements not discussed in Grade 9 Science, it also no longer contains key information that would provide answers in a summative assessment task.

Week 2: Activity 3 – Resource Analysis

I follow The Amoeba Sisters YouTube Channel (here).  A video that aligns fairly well with my grade 9 science curriculum is the following video on Biomagnification:

Media used in the resource:

  • Animation
  • Voice Over
  • Text Captioning

The educational context the media resource could be used in:

Videos such as those found on the Amoeba Sisters YouTube channel are appropriate for use in Middle and High School Level Courses.  They could also be used for review or remedial learning opportunities.  Specifically, the Biomagnification video embedded above is used in my Science 9 class during the environmental chemistry unit.  It gives students clear examples of biomagnification in the real world which they then apply to a performance-based task.

Anything in the media resource that would limit the context that it could be used:

  • The length, although appropriate for the classes I teach, may be too long for shorter blocks.
  • The scientific language may limit the ability of ELL students to understand/process the information.

What makes the media resource pedagogically sound.:

  • Closely connected to the learning outcomes (AB Grade 9 Science – Describe and illustrate processes by which chemicals are introduced to the environment or their concentrations are changed (e.g., dilution in streams, biomagnification through food chains)
  • Engaging for students
  • Appropriate length
  • Factual and uses specific language.

Software required to produce the media:

  • Movie editing software
  • Drawing Software
  • Audio Software

The hardware items that are required to produce the resource:

  • Drawing Tablet
  • Microphone
  • Recording booth for optimal sound

The skills needed to produce the resource:

In order to produce this resource, one would need to have quite a few artistic skills.  Having drawing or animation skills would be a key requirement for producing this type of resource.  One would also need to have a background in science to create the dialogue that pays over the animations.  Lastly, one would need to fluent in movie and audio editing software in order to put it all together.

Week 2: Activity 1 – Format Text to Enhance Learning

Classifying Matter

Use the following graphic organizer or text outline to help organize the following information about classifying matter.

Click here for the advanced organizer.

Pure Substances

Hydrogen Gas (H2)
Water (H2O)
  • Made up of only 1 form of matter
  • Have a unique set of properties that are different from any other type of matter.

2 Types of Pure Substances

Oxygen Gas (O2)
Nitrogen Gas (N2)
  1. Elements
    • Cannot be broken down into smaller substances
    • Find on the periodic table.
  2. Compounds
    Ammonia (NH3)
    • Two or more substances chemically combined in fixed proportions.


  • combination of pure substances that have NOT chemically combined to form a compound

4 Types of Mixtures

Trail Mix
Potting Soil
  1. Mechanical Mixture
    • You can see the distinct substances that make it up.
    • Can be easily separated.
    Fountain Pop
    Sugar in Hot Coffee
  2. Solutions
    • one substance (A) is dissolved into another (B) creating a substance that looks like one substance
    Salad Dressing
  3. Suspensions
    • A cloudy mixture with tiny particles of one substance held within another.
    • Particles can be separated out again.
  4. Colloids
    • Cloudy mixtures where the particles are so small that they cannot be easily separated from each other.

Methods used to assist students to process the text in a way that leads to long-term memory retention and/or transfer:
1. Verdana font as it is the most legible according to research.
2. Appropriate font size.
3. High contrast between font and background.
4. Link to advanced organizers.
5. Headings to organize content.
6. Lists using numbers and bullets to organize text.
7. Texted chunked into related content.
8. Asides used to provide examples.



All About Me!


My name is Abbi Easton and I live in beautiful, although quite chilly right now, Fort McMurray, Alberta.  I’ve been teaching for 17 years for Fort McMurray Catholic School District, first as a grade one teacher and more recently a grade 9 Math and Science teacher.Throughout my teaching career, I have always enjoyed collaborating with my colleagues as well as mentoring new teachers.  I am passionate about my relationship with students and the learning opportunities I provide for them and love sharing this passion with other educators.  To that end, my long-term goal is to work as an Instructional Learning Coach within my district as well as instruct at our local college.

EDDL 5131 is the first course I am taking in my journey towards completing my Masters in Education.  I am looking forward to learning new ways to keep my instruction engaging and relevant to the 21st-century learners in my classroom.  I am also looking forward to working with web-based tools that I have yet to be exposed to.