In the final problem, students are solving has a real world connection to the Fukushima nuclear power plant damaged during the 2011 tsunami. Students designed their own playing fields that required a third of it to be covered in "water" and voted as a class for their favorite four designs to build out of colored paper. To be successful at solving this design problem, teams needed to collect at least five colored cubes (nuclear waste) from the playing field in under two minutes. Students worked with their team to design a robot that could collect the hazardous waste blocks and drop them into a collection zone while avoiding the water hazards in under two minutes.
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.
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!