Friday, February 19, 2016

3rd and 5th graders Scratch!

3rd and 5th grade worked with Scratch to build games, mazes, and videos.  Scratch is a programming tool that was developed at MIT and shared freely to get kids excited about coding.  Here is more information about that and you can use it from any computer with internet access. All 5th grade students have set up an account there and they can log on and show you their projects.  Third graders used the Scratch app on the ipads to create their projects.  This app is also free.  Have them show you how to use it!  If your students are looking for something to keep them busy over spring break or any weekend, encourage them to play with Scratch.  The more they tinker, the more they learn!  We ended the unit with a showcase where students either showed their projects on the overhead or they walked around and toured each other's project.  Some left notes of how much they enjoyed playing with their friends' projects.  

Third graders used Scratch Jr. on the ipads to complete this programming project.  They were paired together and decided what kind of story they wanted to make.  They created their own characters;  programmed them to move, talk, and change; and then brought it all together as a story.  This app is free and is an extension of the web based version, Scratch.  It's a great introductory lesson on how to use programming blocks to make a story.  They will continue their work in Scratch over the next two years as they use the web based version to make more elaborate stories, video games, and mazes.  Feel free to let them loose on it at home though!  You will be amazed what they are able to do!

Fifth graders used either Scratch or Scratch Jr. to create their projects. They told stories using Scratch Jr. and created games and mazes using the web based Scratch. They ended the project with a show off day where they all played each others' games. It was really fun!  They can show you their web based projects by logging on with any computer. 

Kindergarten as Mechanical Engineers

In Kindergarten, we just wrapped up our unit on Mechanical Engineering.  Through this unit students were able to learn about how to capture the wind to use it to help the environment.  We explored different materials to use to catch the wind and different shapes.  They experimented with making sails and testing their strength.  From that research, we started building the windmills.  Finally all of our windmills were completed and we were able to test them to see if they could lift a cup that held weights.  There were many times when things we thought would work, did not.  We had to go back and adjust our ideas, make changes, and try again.  The students used their tenacity and creativity to solve their problems.  Feel free to make changes to the windmills that they brought home to improve them!  Please share any success you find with that process.  :)

2nd grade robotics

Second grade completed their first Robotics unit in STEAM class!  They used the Lego WeDo kits to follow detailed, complex instructions on how to build their machines.  Then they completed a programming challenge for each one.  They had to work through frustration when things weren't built right and figure out why parts of their programming didn't work the first time.  The struggle was real sometimes.  They used their SEL skills to stay calm, think positively, and have tenacity to figure it out.  I kept my intervention limited on purpose so that they could experience the joy of solving something that is difficult.  I'm so very proud of what they were able to do!  Here are some photos of the process.