I have a wide variety of students from unique backgrounds in my fifth grade class. However, they are very cooperative and work with each other on almost all of their projects. I had many of them last year when they were fourth graders in my combo class. It is a real pleasure to have so many nurturing and supportive students request my class again. They worked so hard one our weekly challenges, and I can't wait to see what else they can do!!
Academically, many of my students are stuck in the learning gap.
This is often known as the Matthew Effect, where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, but in this situation the currency is knowledge. I am trying to overcome this with a philosophy of creating happy and productive learners through learning challenges.
I set a challenge and step back to let the students problem solve and support each other. I am available for support, but I have set my role in such a way in the classroom that my students know that they will only walk away with lifetime learning when they roll up their sleeves a
My students work with LEGO WeDo 2.0 robots to learn block coding. I plan to add the Pneumatics kits to some of their projects so that they can add movement and mechanical advantages to projects they have already practiced. This will help the students see how humans come together with robots to produce positive outcomes.
Robotics and coding is just the first step for students; I plan to use these resources to show them that the machines are nothing without the humans behind them.
My students will look at projects that we have already learned about and then revisit them with an engineer's eye. They will look for ways to add on to the models and create more ways for humans to interact with the robots so that they can solve more advanced challenges. For example, adding a pneumatic arm to a robot that rolls forward and detects an obstruction could show the students how to build a NASA rover that moves obstacles out of its own way (with a little help from its humans).
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