My Kindergarten through sixth grade, Title I, elementary school serves a large culturally diverse local trailer park along with one of the oldest city neighborhoods; it was rated as one of the most culturally diverse elementary schools in the country in a recent study. In a single classroom areas of the globe from the Alaskan Arctic, China, Korea, Vietnam, The Philippines, Samoa, The Dominican Republic, and Mexico can be represented. It is not unusual to hear multiple languages spoken on the playground, with the most common being the Hmong language.
The students at my school come from all over the world, but they have one thing in common: they love coding.
Growing up in low income families (over 80% of our students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch) does not allow for a lot of opportunities to explore and build with materials. These materials cost money and access to them is limited when priorities like "food on the table" and "clothes on your back" take all a family's resources. The students come to school eager to learn and explore, but without the hands-on experiences and learning that can only come from doing and playing with real materials.
The materials I have chosen will be used in an evolved and modern school library program. The library of today is not a storage room for books, but an open space to seek information and do! This includes building with LEGO bricks and coding with mini robots.
Both LEGO bricks and Ozobots are great materials for early computer coding lessons.
With the LEGO idea books, loose LEGO bricks, and LEGO building kits, the students practice breaking steps down into individual actions. With the Ozobots the students practice writing the code or direction in a simplified color based system.
To many the idea of coding can be overwhelming. With these materials the students will be able to develop foundational skills that they can build on with more advanced digital program. The younger students are training their brains to think like a coder when they plan and follow simple visual directions, like in the LEGO building kits. They are learning to see the individual steps needed to complete a task.
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