My students are lively and energetic pre-adolescents. Middle school is an adventure where my students are acquiring academic skills and building good study habits in a backdrop of high drama in the South Bronx. They are learning to deal with friendships while learning about social studies, English Language Arts, science, math, art, and computer science.
They are transitioning from children to young adults.
Our school provides them with a safe space to learn and grow. We have guidance counselors that follow them from grades 6 through 12. We also have Margaret's Place, a program founded by Joe Torre, the former manager of the New York Yankees as a dedicated safe room in schools where students can go to talk or “hang out” in a comfortable environment that feels safe to them.
I would like to engage my students in an exciting project that combines coding with the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit and catapults made with craft sticks and rubber bands. In the Harry Potter world, learning a spell takes practice, and the same is true with the Kano Coding Kit, so the coding experience feels a little like going to Hogwarts. A student cannot levitate a feather without the proper pronunciation of Wingardium Leviosa (it's Wing-GAR-dium Levi-O-sa) in Harry Potter, and they will not be able to levitate a feather in the Kano app without first putting together the right coding steps.
Events, logic, math, variables, color, objects, physics, speaker sound, loops, wand vibration are some aspects of coding that the app advances through with each tutorial.
My students will construct catapults with craft sticks and rubber bands to learn how stored potential energy was used in ancient siege engines to hurl a payload without the need for explosives. The application of sufficient force to an object can change its shape. Elastic objects, such as rubber bands, are able to store potential energy when force is used to change their shape. When this stored potential energy is later released, it is transferred to the projectile or payload being launched.
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