This Far, with Little Coders.

In session one, ‘How Far with Little Coders’, students were investigating just how far is 5 and ten Ozobot steps? Once we had acquired this knowledge we could move forward and challenge ourselves. The challenge criteria is opened ended, the solution will be different for each group and students have choice in their design and construction process. So, what is the challenge?

Session Two

The challenge:

  • Create a track for the Ozobot to travel, using graph paper, masking tape and straws.
  • Calculate the distance to travel through each section of your track.
  • Use the Ozoblockly editor to create a sequence to allow the Ozobot to travel the full length of your track, from start to finish!

Tips to Remember:

  • Fold along one edge of the graph paper, match the folded edge on one sheet to the graph line on the second sheet. Tape together on the reverse side. *I did this for my students, under their guidance as to their design choice. Older students should be able to manage themselves.
  • Cut the straws into different lengths to make an interesting track.
  • Use small pieces of masking tape to hold down the straws, make sure the tape will not interfere with the travelling Ozobot.2016-11-15-14-02-46
  • Make sure you allow enough width across the track, so the Ozobot can travel freely.
  • Include degree codes to turn direction.
  • Refer to your prior test results, how many graph squares/cm is in 5 or 10 Ozobot steps? How many code blocks do you need to use?
  • Count the graph squares carefully to calculate which code block you need to use. Use a pencil to mark each code block distance on your track. Use this information to select the correct code blocks, and form your sequence.
  • Test run along the way…calibrate the robot, then load the sequence.

 

Most students took two sessions to complete the task. The first student to finish was a girl! Go, coding girls! In my experience, across the 1-10 Years/Grades, girls do seem to have the stamina to persevere and problem solve, the boys will often give up and enthusiasm wanes when they can’t solve problems quickly. With this activity, everyone was engaged and kept trying to get to the finish line. There was cheers of joy, clapping and congratulations when students succeeded. There was also tears of frustration from one little man, who passionately wanted to do well, but struggled with his low math ability. A little pep talk, some teacher help and he was back on track.

When you select the student partner groups, pay attention to the student’s strengths, try and pair them so one supports the other. It will reduce the frustration and hopefully there will be no tears. The word challenge is very real in this activity, I am working with six and seven year old’s, and I am pushing them. Am I asking too much of them? Perhaps, but they are learning from the challenge, building stamina and developing thinking skills, plus finding pride and joy in the accomplishment. Oh, and celebrate the achievements, send them off to show others of what they can do…show the office staff, the principal, the gardener, the class next door, and spread the joy!

 

How Far, with Little Coders?

Are you counting sleeps? I am. So, little time to get everything finished up for the school year. In this silly season of assessment, reports, presentation practice, graduation events, school year books, class groups for 2017, swimming lessons, sports carnivals, job uncertainty, meetings, tinsel and glitter, we are still teaching and learning.

For myself and my little coders there has been a lot of learning. Earlier in the term, I had the opportunity to attend a great LEGO EV3 Mindstorm workshop in Perth at SciTech. It was a lot of fun, I got to catch up with some past colleagues, and it was challenging. If you have the opportunity to attend a LEGO EV3 event do it, even if you don’t have these robots you can apply the teaching/lesson ideas to most robots. Which is exactly what I did, I modified one of the activities to suit my little coders and their skill level, when working with Ozobots and the Ozoblockly editor.

The activity was to work out how far a LEGO EV3 can travel in one rotation of the wheel. It was an interesting 5 minute investigation, a group of 30 adults were all estimating, calculating, discussing their thoughts on distance. Only a few people in the room calculated the correct distance.

So, I took this little gem of an idea and asked the little coders ‘How far is 5 Ozobot steps?’, ‘How far is 10 Ozobot steps?’. Hhhmmm…no one knew, including me. Now given that I am working with Yr. 1/2 students, I had to make the task achievable. We want a little bit of challenge and investigation, but we also want success and that feeling of pride and achievement. My solution to this was using graph paper, cheap, easy to access (hello, Mr. B, Math/Science Wizard), and we can record our data on it. You need to use 5mm graph paper, the reason being that Ozobots move small distances.

Session One

First, remind students about the Mode 1 block codes in the editor. A quick game of what code is this, using the Mode 1 flash cards.

Then:

  • Explain the challenge. How far (the distance) is 5 steps and 10 steps?
  • Demonstrate on the IWB, the Ozoblockly editor and which code blocks they need to use. You only need a speed block and the 5/10 step blocks. Show the students the simple sequence…speed block, joined to step block. Remind/demonstrate how to calibrate the robot and program the robot (many students forget the steps).
  • Group students into partners.
  • Each group needs: one piece of 5mm graph paper, a pencil and an Ozobot. Plus computer with Ozoblockly Editor.
  • Demonstrate drawing a straight start line on the paper, repeat this 4 times. You should have 4 start lines along on edge of the paper. Under two of the lines write ‘5 steps’and under the other two write ’10 steps’. 2016-11-08-16-21-43
  • Load the program onto a robot. Demonstrate: Run the robot from the starting line. When it stops, use the pencil to mark how far it traveled. Mark off all the 5mm squares covered with that distance. How many squares did it travel? How must distance is this? Discuss measuring in centimeters. How many millimeters in one centimeter? 5mm + 5mm = 10mm = 1cm
  • Have students work through their own investigation, calculating the Ozobot steps/distance. How far did it travel?

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Session Two

This is where the fun starts and the challenge becomes greater, but you will have to wait for the next blog post, as it is time for me to go to work. Have a great day everyone.

 

Evolution…Ozobot talks!

Ok, so they may not actually talk but they do make sounds! The new Evo Ozobot looks awesome. For those of us who are already Ozobot fans and educators, this is super exciting.

ozobot-evo-box-packaging-a418abd2The new Evo has sensors which allow it to interact with objects in the environment, it has new lights, a speaker, can make sounds to suggest emotions and allows users to communicate through social media. You can use the Evo with tablets and smartphones. Much like our old favourite 2.0 Ozobot it can be programmed with either colour codes or block coding. New codes have been developed to match the new features, students will enjoy adding sound to their programming.

The sad thing is that us Aussies are not yet able to purchase an Evo 😦

There is a preorder set up on the Ozobot website, however, when trying to place an order from Australia you are hit with a $100US shipping fee! I think you will find that even if you have the money to pay they will notify you that they don’t ship to Australia (as happened to me previously). Let’s hope that Edtech get in on the action quickly and makes them available here.

If you would like more info about the Evo check out the links below:

 

 

iPad…tick!

 

Using an iPad these days is common practice for many of us. For me it is a vital tool which I carry with me and am never without. Every day I use it for a variety of personal, work and educational purposes. Yesterday it helped me to research and purchase a new oven and dish washer, find an appliance store, watch a movie online, contact a friend, share some documents, check out my weekly lesson plans, catch up on social media, read a book, look for new teaching resources, download worksheets, and wake me up! Much like a mobile phone, iPads have become a must have tool.

Many schools are using them on a 1:1 basis or sharing classroom sets. This of course means that both teachers and students are having to learn how to use them. Luckily this is usually an easy process as iPads have been designed with the user in mind. Students quickly learn how to operate the iPad, they share what they know with their peers and often teach their teacher tips and tricks.

Recording what skills students can do with an iPad can be useful for assessment purposes book-creator-for-ipad-iconand also guide you in what you need to teach them next, with regard to operating an iPad. A couple of people had asked about check lists, so that we can tick off what they know, record the data and move on. I have created two different versions, Version 1. has the basic operating skills which all students should learn, plus skills often used when using a creative application (app) such as Explain Everything or Book Creator. explain-everythingVersion 2. has more complex operational skills which you would expect your older students to accomplish, and also has some browser skills. How you use them is up to you, a simple tick would work to indicate the student can independently use each operating feature or you could use symbols, D for developing, A for achieved, etc.

checklist

The checklists can be found on my resources curriculum page, I would suggest printing them out as an A3 document. I hope they are useful, feel free to share them around. I will be creating other checklists for various digital technology learning areas in the near future.

Little Coders…try and try again!

The one thing about little coders are they never let you down. They’re always full of beans and excited to be part of your class. This week my little coders (Yr. 1/2) were super keen and had a double dose of coding! They experienced a great robot and coding incursion by Gecko Steps and getting hands on with Ozobots in our DT class.

I was kinda proud when the Gecko Steps presenter asked the class “What do you think these things are? (pointing to holes on front of the robot)” and quick as a flash two students replied with “Sensors! Eyes to see with!”

In the last three lessons, we have looked at robots in real life, learnt about the components of the the Ozobots, discovered that sensors are a bit like your eyes (sensitive) and learn’t about how to draw colour code tracks for our robots. We have begun to learn the basic Ozobot colour code symbols. What we did wrong when drawing these and how to fix them, if we make a mistake?

To stretch their knowledge further and give them a chance to demonstrate what they know, I have designed a fun Ozobot cityscape lesson. I am hoping this will give them more time to absorb and remember the various codes, plus get them problem solving and finding solutions.

The inspiration for the task came from picklebums.com, gotta love that name. Kate Pickle (at least I think that’s her name) has a cute envelop city activity  which looks like loads of fun. My version has student’s coding the roads of their city for Ozobot traffic. Picking up code cards, as they make their way from building to building and problem solving how to use each code to reach their destination.

If you would like a copy of the lesson download it from here Envelope City Challenge 1 Mentioned in the lesson plan is a set of OZOBOT COLOUR CODES cards which I created. You need the cards to complete the lesson. The cards needed to be printed in colour and laminated. They are very useful for teaching any of the Ozobot lessons.

Have a great week everyone 🙂

 

Deconstructing Coding in the Curriculum

We are all time poor! Are you all nodding in agreement? Many of us spend hours of our own time working back in our class rooms after hours, creating resources at home, marking assessments…and the list goes on. So when approached with something new we need to follow some well known advice ‘work smarter not harder’.

This is how I approached my journey at deconstructing the Digital Technologies curriculum. I looked elsewhere for help, why reinvent the wheel if someone else has already broached the subject? The focus topic being, what skills need to be taught and assessed, and for which age group? What I came across during my search was a kind, experienced educator who was happily sharing her knowledge to the world. Glenys Goffett, on her school’s website copacabana-ps.com,  has broken down what she believes should be taught in I.C.T. across the various age groups. Luckily for us this includes coding and robotics. She has also placed a Creative Commons license on her work meaning that we can all share her work among our education community and make alterations to  suit our requirements, as long as we do not use it for commercial purposes (that is sell it for financial gain). What I liked about Glenys’s suggested skills is that it was written in simple plain English, easy for any non techy teacher to understand. A great starting point for most teachers.

Creating robotics2

Screenshot from Glenys Goffett’s  I.C.T. document.

 

After recording the tables of information I sat down to work my way through the Western Australian Digital Technology Curriculum Scope & Sequence. I focused on K-6 and slowly attempted to match  each skill to each strand and content descriptor. Below is what I came up with. At this point I have only looked at Coding, Robotics and iPad use. It may not be perfect but it’s a start and will help guide you in what to teach and assess across the ECE and Primary years.

My DT 2016 S&S Plan PDF     DT 2016 K-6 Plan 1

My DT 2016 S&S Plan WORD Doc.   DT 2016 K-6 Plan 1

Please share…Do you have a plan to share? A useful link? Let me know of any useful resources which may help others further their knowledge of teaching and learning DT.