MassCUE graciously supported my grant to obtain Lego WeDo 2.0 kits. The grant allowed me to obtain 10 Lego WeDo 2.0 robotic kits. When I received notice of the award, the Carver School District was completing a new elementary building and the timeline had the obstacle of the moving to and opening of our new school building. By mid-April 2018, the staff members were packing everything. Despite the move, I was able to roll out the Lego WeDo 2.0 kits to students in Grades 3-5.
Problem-solving with Code
We have been working on coding for three years in the computer lab and the kits allowed students to expand their knowledge. Lego WeDo 2.0 has an extensive downloaded program. The program’s library demonstrates many types of robots to build and use, as well as give suggestions for creating new ones based on the job you want them to do. In the spring the Grades 3-5 students explored the basic forms, built them and coded them. The students in grades 4 and 5 were given a real life problem, built a robot to help solve the problem, and coded the robot as part of the solution.
We have now been in our new building since August and the students are beginning their curriculum on coding. In the technology lab, the kits will be used in grades 2-5 this year. One of the goals of my grant was to expand the use to other teachers. In January, I will be having a training for interested teachers. I have used some of the ideas from the Lego app and expanded them to be lessons that are different from the ones I use in the technology lab. These lessons also expand on students’ knowledge and allow them more application of problems solving skills. I referred to the new science standards am finalizing lessons that match their requirements.
Bringing Classroom Teachers On Board
Expanding teacher knowledge was a major objective in my original grant plan. I teach 800 students and approx. 40 classes of prekindergarten through fifth grade students. The schedule is a one in six day rotation. The opportunity for me to give the students time to build, test, and explore, is limited due to competing technology standards I must cover. Having teachers use these kits is essential. The move had prevented my attempts at conducting a proper training session. We have had to make adjustments as we learn the new technology in the school and students had to adapt to using Chromebooks instead of personal computers, in the lab and in their classrooms. Our growing pains appear to be healing and January is the right time to move ahead.
One goal of the January training session will be to have those staff members who attend become leaders in demonstrating to others ways to integrate robotics and coding. Our new project areas allow a separate space from conventional rooms so materials can be ready for the next class. All of the student Chromebooks have had the app pushed out to them and the robot base is easily connected via bluetooth. They can now be used anywhere on our campus.
I am thankful to the MassCUE community for allowing our district to have the funds for these tools. I am excited to finally have time to move ahead with the next step. Robotic exploration is a continuing adventure.
Jane Kent is a technology teacher for the Carver Elementary School. After more than 20 plus years as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Kent was given the opportunity to create a new technology program. Over the past four year, she has been using the Massachusetts 2016 Digital Literacy and Computer Science Framework (as well as the previous version) to instruct the approximately 800 students in prekindergarten to fifth grade. Mrs. Kent holds a M.Ed from Lesley University in Instructional Technology, She is certified with Google as a Level 1 and Level 2 Educator. She is completing her Google Trainers certification requirements. She is also a DEN Ambassador and DEN Star leader for Discovery Education. Mrs. Kent recently became certified as a BrainPOP trainer (after beginning her course work at MassCUE 2018 Fall Conference).
– Jane Kent ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
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