We concluded our computer science module this week in fourth grade with a breakout challenge. These challenges are much like the escape rooms people visit with family and friends. The big difference with this challenge was that students had to break into a locked box in their classroom. There were several different puzzles and challenges about computer science students needed to solve in order to unlock the locks and open the box. I was so proud of their cooperation and hard work to be successful at this task!
After learning about how computers store data and communicate students began programming an game in Tynker. This game Required an alien to tap other aliens falling on the screen to reward points for 30 seconds. At the end of the game points for displayed on the screen in a graph. Next students had plan and create their own reaction game as discussed in earlier in the unit as a way to help diagnose concussion patients. Students were for the partner to design their game and then he went above and beyond with adding extra elements to their project. They all really enjoyed testing out each other's games and providing feedback for how to improve their designs.
Fifth graders participated in some March Madness this wee with a robotic bracket challenge. Teams had to redesign their robots and compete against the other members on their team. Each team's fastest driver was then that entered into the bracket challenge where they had to go head-to-head against other teams. Drivers who won their head to head matchup moved on to the next round in the tournament until a winner was determined. Izzy was the champion for Ms. Boles's class and Sawyer was the champion for Mr. T's class. It was such an exciting event and I was so proud to see all the students work so hard and be so supportive of their classmates! Great job everyone!
Fourth graders have started a new module focused on computer science. We reviewed how computers use inputs and outputs and discussed how computers use a combination of 1's and 0's called binary to store data. They then had a chance to decipher secret codes in binary to unlock messages. Students then learned about a way to store black and white images in a computer with run length encoding. Students created a pattern of out of white and black shaded squares (pixels) and then wrote the code to create the image. Everyone had the opportunity to trade their directions with a classmate who then tried to recreate the image based on the directions. It was a great to see everyone try so hard to decipher each other's code!
Third graders have loved getting to use the Hopscotch app to help them code and build programs. Students began by learning how to use the basic Hopscotch programming blocks. Then students worked with a partner to create a program that could make their character draw a square. Many students even figured out how to create programs that made their character draw different shapes like hexagons and triangles too! We learned about the coordinate grid and the difference between the X axis and Y axis and how they can be useful in programming to plot coordinates for characters. Next students worked with a partner using pair programming to build a basic game on their tablet. This basic game included learning how to program different functions and variables including how to have multiple character lives, how to add a game timer and how to create a "you win" or "you lose" message appear on the screen.
Fifth graders are very excited to have started robotics in Project Lead the Way. Students researched different types of robots and discovered how they can do dull, dangerous and dirty work for humans. After learning about robots, students begin using our Vex robotics kits to design and build a toy with moving parts out of Vex pieces. They came up with some very creative designs including an ice cream cone on wheels, complex fidget spinner, transforming boat and a helicopter! Lastly, students worked with their team to build a testbed that they will use to observe how inputs and outputs work with the different sensors and a robot controller. I'm really looking forward to our robotics modules with these students!
Fourth graders at Logan kicked off Project Lead the Way with a demonstration that sent an egg cart down a ramp and crashing into pieces! As you can imagine, the students loved it! The goal of this module is for students to build a vehicle that can protect an egg passenger when is goes down a ramp and collides with a cement wall. Students started working towards this goal by learning about seatbelt and airbag safety features currently used in vehicles. They created a Popplet about what they discovered and started to think about how these features could apply to their egg car designs. Next students learned about potential and kinetic energy and even got to explore with the Angry Birds app to identify examples of each type.
Fifth grade is concluding their final PLTW module by using the engineering design process to complete a variety of challenges. Students have been figuring out how to program their autonomous robots to collect blocks on a playing field. Using their robot chassis, students had to design a model and use only programming blocks to move their robot autonomously to collect at least two blocks in under two minutes. They were very excited to use all they have learned in PLTW to complete this task and I am so proud of all their hard work and perseverance!
First grade has completed their final Project Lead the Way module, Light and Sound this week. Students used the design process to sketch, build, test and reflect on a device that uses light and sound to communicate over a distance. Students worked in small groups to solve the design problem by creating a device that could communicate over a distance (across the classroom) using light and sound. They could only use two plastic cups, a metal water bottle, bandana, string, tape, mirror and flashlight in their design. Each group got a chance to evaluate and present their design to see if the light could reach the ceiling and sound could be heard across the classroom by the rest of the class. Students then finished the design process by explaining the strengths and weaknesses of their designs.
This is my tenth year teaching and my second with Ann Arbor Public Schools. I spent the first eight years of my teaching career as a K-8 technology teacher. I joined AAPS last year as a Media Specialist and I am thrilled to be a part of PLTW this year! In my spare time I enjoy going to the gym, baking and spending time with family and friends!