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.
The second 5th grade PLTW module started on Monday and students will now be focusing on autonomous robotics and learning how to program them to complete various tasks. We started the module by researching at different autonomous vehicles and then completed an hour of code activity to review basic programming strategies that we will need when learning to program our robots.
Fifth grade robotics concluded it's first Module today. After successfully building their robot base, students went through the design process to add additional elements to their robot so it could solve the design problem. Students then created their own testing fields and had to find a way to collect five hazardous waste blocks and drop them safely in a collection zone in less then two minutes. They had so much fun using the controller to drive their robots!
Kindergarten students enjoyed completing an hour of code activity for their last day of Project Lead the Way. They used the website Kodable to program a fuzz bug with direction buttons to move through a maze. It great to see our youngest cougars get introduced to computer science! The Kodable website and other coding resources for kids can be found on the student link page.
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!