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One of my students just told me, “You’re just all robots all the time now, are you?  Other teachers are worried about report cards, but not you.”  Luckily, I finished my report cards because it gave me time to play with our robots.

Since robotics and coding aren’t directly stated in our curriculum, I had to find ways in, and there are many.  One of the best ways, I’ve found is utilizing the Design or Problem-Solving Process which is one of the Big Ideas in our Science Curriculum.

We are using the kits in a couple different ways.  Right now, we have grade 5s working with the kits for their Structures Unit, and the kits are also being used in Makerspace Mondays and over Reading Recesses. The recess programs have a more open format. Teams of three are signing up to work with the kits and are exploring them independently. 

What amazes me is how organically students create there own tasks and go through the Design/Problem-Solving Process.   I love watching student minds at work. This is what I saw today: 

First, they had to figure out how it worked. 

This is when I realized what they were doing and asked them to re-do it and explain it.  Prompting was needed for them to voice the process.  

Then, they adapted the robot and tried again!

More testing, with another adaptation to the machine!

Success! 

They were truly the design process in action.  Next, I’m moving them on to the coding aspect to see what happens there.

Fun day at the library!

Stefanie Cole (DDSB)


2 Comments

Craig Featherstone · December 11, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Stefanie, this looks like a blast! I’m absolutely certain your kids can’t wait to “play” when they come into your library. I found it interesting to hear you talk about “watching student minds at work.” Love that phrase. Your strategy of standing back and letting kids figure out how the robots worked really seemed to open up opportunities for you to assess what was happening and plan your next moves. Very nice. You mention that you plan to move into coding next. What will that look like? Are there specific apps or bots that you plan to use to develop coding skills? I’m also always curious about where you (and others) see coding connecting to our curriculum and how you see various concepts underpinning or extending from it. Thanks again for sharing this story, including all the video work. It gave me a great chance to see things in action. Appreciated.

Patrick Miller · December 12, 2017 at 11:28 am

Thanks for this Stefanie! Love to see kids finding their own problems to solve.
I am curious to know if you and your colleagues have seen the skills we generally see in these types of robotics and coding tasks (problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, etc) finding their way into other areas. Also, have students begun to apply to principals of design thinking to solve problems in other subjects?
Thanks again for sharing your learning.

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