Our school is a neighborhood school—our campus is nestled between oaks trees in an old, established neighborhood. My two classes of 36+ curious and lively 3rd graders come from very diverse backgrounds.
As a Title I school, more than 62% of our students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.
We also present a variety of learning styles, including ESE and ELL. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many of us are the children of active duty military members, and we deal with frequent and prolonged deployments. Some of us are immigrants from other countries, and we are assimilating into the culture and learning the language. We are a classroom of enthusiastic learners, especially for math and science! We love to work together in pairs and small groups and learn by teaching each other.
This year, our elementary school sponsored TWO FIRST LEGO League Jr. robotics teams. These teams of six students each (facilitated by a 3rd grade math and science teacher AND our Art teacher) are working on solutions to the Aqua Adventure challenge sponsored by FIRST. The iPads are a required resources as the LEGOs are programmed and controlled through an app. Each team will use the iPad app to test their models and solutions to the challenge. As they work through the challenge, team members will analyze why (or why not) models work, how they could be changed, and how best to make those changes. They will continually use the plan, model, and evaluate cycle.
The FIRST LEGO League Jr.
team members explore, create and test, and share their solutions to the challenge! This year's challenge is to explore how to use water at home or in the community, the water's journey, and how to improve a part of this journey. Student team members will create and test a team model to show their ideas. During a series of lessons about water (where it comes from and how it can be used), students will work together in teams to create a motorized LEGO model which demonstrates their solution. And, finally, the team will SHARE what they learn and present it as a model and a visual display. Students demonstrate their team projects at multiple "Expos" held in our area.
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