Kinder Loses a Leprechaun But Finds Robot Turtles

The Kinder students set their leprechaun traps right before Spring Break, but the leprechaun was too smart to get caught.  He did leave them surprises in our class treasure box, which was awfully nice!

The students had to use their detective thinking to find their prizes, which was a great introduction to this type of thinking.  While they were hunting the room for clues, they spotted the Robot Turtles game and asked to play it.  So, we spent Friday using the game to learn about programming and thinking ahead (another way to say, “strategizing”!)

3rd Grade Works on Saving the Coral Reefs

With their Genius Hour research completed, the 3rd graders have begun working on their presentation with the hope of persuading more kids to help save the coral reefs.  They decided to make a video game using Scratch programming that will teach kids facts about the coral reef and the things that damage it.  So far, the game has been a great collaborative effort from the students, and they are branching out this week to add some more details from home.

1st Grade Learns to Program Geography

The 1st graders plotted the countries they have chosen to study on our floor map of the world this week.  Then they learned how to use Blockly programming to send our Dash robot to different locations.  Today was just a tutorial so that the students could be introduced to the coding basics.  We will be beginning stations next week, and each group of 3 students will have some geography coding challenges to complete when they get to that station.

Kinder Plays Robot Turtles

This week, the Kinders were introduced to a game called, “Robot Turtles.”  This game is a great application of their Magician Thinking because they have to picture the path their robot turtle needs to take in order to reach the jewel in the center of the gameboard.  The students put down a card on each turn that directs the “Turtle Mover” which way to move their turtle, so the students are also learning beginning programming.  They are eager to play again, especially since they saw some challenges that we can add to the game once they get the basics down!

Photo May 06, 10 19 19 AM Photo May 06, 10 19 32 AM

December 2015 Updates

Wow, this week has flown by, and our blog posts are way behind!  Part of the problem was that the Edublogs site was down, but the other part is that we just haven’t had time.  The students and I have been super busy, and lots of great things are happening!

Here are some brief summaries of what is going on in the GT Classroom!

  • 1st and 2nd grades both participated in the Hour of Code in GT on Monday.  The 1st graders tried to code our Dash robot to travel from North to South America as we continue to study the continents.  The 2nd graders used an app called, “Box Island,” to learn some basics about sequences, loops, and conditional statements (we didn’t call them that in class, but they definitely figured out how to use them!)
  • The 3D printer so generously donated to our classroom by the parents is up and running!  We had a little glitch with connecting to the district network, but now it is working like a champ!  The 2nd-5th grade classes will have opportunities to design for it coming up soon! (Funny detail – the Aquanet hairspray was included in the box.  It’s used to make the build plate sticky!)

Photo Dec 10, 2 54 41 PM

  • 5th grade was invited to stream live to the District’s Principal’s meeting yesterday.  They got to show the principals how we do Socratic Dialogue in our classroom, and Odin got to ask our Superintendent, Dr. Gottardy, a question, “How do you balance safety and freedom when making decisions for our schools?”  Below is a picture of how our class was viewed by Mr. Bloomer, principal at Bradley.

Socratic Dialogue

    • The 3rd – 5th grade teams worked on their missions so their videos could be submitted by the 12/10/15 deadline to the Wonder League Robotics Competition.  We had four teams total, and it has been so fun to see how the different teams handled each mission!  It will definitely be clear to the judges that the students took control of the programming and “flair” as no two teams did the same thing!  I am embedding their competition videos below.  I had a couple of hours of panic last night while I tried to stitch all of the videos together for our submission because my home computer was so slow – but all of the videos did get submitted before the deadline!

3rd Grade Learns about Systems and Programming

Since we weren’t able to do the blog post from two weeks ago due to problems with the Edublog site, I am going to try to combine the posts from today’s class and last time.  During both, the students continued to work on systems thinking.  They began a story about Billibonk that teachers systems thinking, and they got the chance to apply this thinking to creating Cubelet robots and participating in the Wonder League Robotics Competition.  In addition, they have been working on having a growth mindset in math by doing some paper-folding activities and looking for patterns in Pascal’s triangle. Here are some of their reflections from two weeks ago:

Olivia: We persevered and kept trying to find ways to make triangles and squares by folding.  You had to be a skeptic.

Harrison: We did growth and fixed mindset about Billibonk and Frankl.

Max: We used Cubelets to show how our brains work.

Dylan: It’s a system so you need all of the parts to work correctly.  For actions to happen, you need it all connected.  You need power, sensing, and action.

Some things we learned from trying to program Dash’s first mission today:

Max – that if we didn’t cooperate it would be super hard

Dylan – we learned from our mistakes

Harrison – keep trying and never give up

Most problems were user error.

If you want different results try something else.

5th Grade Uses Blooms Taxonomy to Reflect

The 5th graders were excited to do some programming with our newly-donated Sphero and our Dash robots this week. They also read and discussed some more of The Giver, and brainstormed problems in the world around us.  For this week’s blog post, we tried something a bit different.  I gave them question stems from Blooms Taxonomy that they could choose from to reflect.  Here are some of their wonderful responses.

Katie C. – Today’s lesson about Dash and Sphero makes me wonder what would happen if the companies of sphero and Dash worked together. They could create a robot that has something unique to each company, but would work smoothly. You know that saying “ Great minds think alike?” Well, great minds also think very differently, and that’s good. This robot could have a fun name like “Dero.” Maybe the robot would look like a Sphero, but a bit bigger. It could talk and make noises. I like the scroll quest idea and Sphero’s story line, so just imagine what the creators could do! I also wonder about what made the head of each company create the robots in the first place. Was it for fun at first but became something more? Or were they making it for kids so that they could learn? Whatever the case, I enjoy each creation. Now that I think about it, what if Osmo joined the fun? There are so many possibilities!

Odin – Learning about what we thought was wrong in the world reminded me of how for some people one thing can be pure evil, while for others it can be awesome. I thought of this because I was disagreeing with someone in my group and that got me thinking how their mind works differently than mine. I starting wondering what the difference is between peoples thoughts. I also wondered if some people base their thinking on others and just go along with their ideas. If so then why do people lend their thoughts to the group of what everyone is thinking. Also I thought from reading The Giver why people are afraid to do what is against reality. Why don’t people just feel no fear and do whatever they want. I think they don’t do it because it is extremely difficult to relieve yourself from all fear of consequences. Also another reason why nobody does whatever they want might be because they are worried that society would fall, or that people they love for would die. I believe that not caring about others is one of the most difficult parts of relieving yourself from restrictions. Another reason people may not do whatever they want is because they are afraid that they will be stopped and then punished.

Nathan – I think people learning some about programing at least a little in some way is important to help evolve the universe with more discoveries and inventions for further generations.After today I can prove,that it takes time to program with the fact that today we programed and the harder it gets the more difficult it gets.From what I learned about programing today I can infer that it is tons harder to program a robot to react to others programming.That is why Bill Gates is so famous he advances the world at so many different levels.I think without programing this huge world would be alot dfferent then what it is like now,I give a big thankyou to all inventors helping to improve and advance this tremendous ,amazing world.


1st Grade Plays Geography Duel

The first graders practiced identifying the countries their classmates have been studying by playing Geography Duel on the iPads.  I was able to customize the game so that it only quizzed them on the countries we have learned about so far.  Some of them are getting quite good at finding different locations!

I also challenged the 1st graders to program our robot “bunny” to travel around the world to each continent.  They were only allowed to use one program to direct his travel, and they competed to see who would get the most continents.  We had a 3-way tie of groups who were able to achieve 4 continents.  I guess the bunny didn’t have time to stop at the other 3!

Believe it or not, we even had time to do some Spring S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  The students drew what they would invent by combining a kite with something else.  You can see a couple of examples below.

1st Grade Makes Riddles About Their Countries

The 1st graders used Haiku Deck to create short riddles about their countries.  On Friday, we showed the riddles and the students put their location guesses on our floor map.  The student who guessed the closest got to program Dash to “travel” to that country. You can see their riddles embedded below.

The students also used some creative thinking to draw what they would like to find at the end of the rainbow.  I included some of their drawings with the photos for this week.

Riddle 1 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 2 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 3 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 4 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 5 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 6 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Riddle 7 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

1st Grade Programs Dash to Visit Their Countries

The 1st graders are continuing to learn more about the countries they chose to research.  Using our floor map, they each got the chance to program Dash to “travel” to their country.  They are getting very good at using the Blockly app to program!  They are also getting better at identifying the continents and some other geographic locations.

We are trying to find out more about the countries all over the world so that the students can see that, though there may be differences, there are also many similarities.  On Friday, the students looked at some of the popular sports in their countries, and noticed that many of them are played here.  We also discussed how “football” does not mean the same thing to most of the world as it does to Americans!