Both Kindergartners and First Graders had a fun month in the Computer Lab! The highlight of the month was definitely the class on robotics, where Mrs. Ares (DCRSD's STEAM director) came to Mason Road School and helped teach students how to use the BeeBots. Kindergarten used the BeeBots to help them design a robot of their own, and First Graders used the BeeBots to help a dog find her way back to her dog house! BeeBots are wonderful tools for elementary aged students - they are robots shaped like bees, that teach students basic computer science principles. The BeeBot is programmed using buttons on its back - it can move forward and backwards, and turn left and right. By using these buttons, students are able to figure out the answers to bigger problems by breaking it down into step by step instructions. Everyone really enjoyed using the BeeBots, and it won't be long before we use them again!
When they weren't using the BeeBots, our Mighty Mustangs were learning valuable keyboard skills - first graders have been practicing their typing, and Kindergartners were learning all about the arrow keys and space bar. It's amazing to see how quickly they all pick up the necessary skills!
In STEAM Special this month, we focused on the Technology and Engineering aspects of STEAM. Students designed their own Leprechaun map, and then wrote the algorithm to bring the leprechaun through the maze. The more practice students get with writing algorithms, the more familiar they'll be with computer science!
Check out the photos below to see our Mighty Mustangs at work!
Second, Third, and Fourth Graders at DES were all introduced to our new typing incentive program that will monitor their words per minute. Each student has a rocket ship that they will use to keep track of their words per minute, and they will be able to move up their rocket ship as their WPM increases. The typing goal for second grade is 10 WPM, for third is 15 WPM, and fourth is 20 WPM. Many students have already reached their goals, but many are also still working hard to reach it! With this new typing program, we introduced the new website typing.com. Students can log in with their google accounts to access their account on typing.com, where they can do a number of different activities (including timed typing tests) to help them practice their typing skills. This is something students enjoy that they can also do at home, as typing is a very important skill and the more students practice, the better they'll get!
This month, second graders were introduced to the computer game Zoombinis. This is a fun game that teaches students the core concepts of logic and computer science. With the first few activities, second graders learned about attributes and values, and learned how to construct if statements. While they aren't explicitly coding, it is important to get students thinking in a logical mindset so that when they are coding, the logic will come easily to them.
Third graders continued working on their word processing skills this month with their monthly paragraphs. This month, students all watched a video on Grace Hopper (a famous computer scientist), and wrote their paragraphs about who she was and what she did.
Third graders and Fourth graders spent some time in the computer lab learning about how to use the different tools on the online MCAS program. Hopefully this set students up for success on their tests!
Fourth graders also started their coding unit in March. We kicked off the unit by coding without using computers - students used graph paper to write algorithms (lists of instructions) to get their partners to draw different images. This simple activity helps students understand how algorithms work, and provided the basis for learning about loops. They transitioned the next week into learning how to transform algorithms into programs by coding those algorithms onto a computer using code.org's site. The activities on code.org start off simple, but increase in difficulty as the levels increase. They really challenge students' creativity and problem solving skills!
In April, fourth graders will continue their computer science unit, learning about events, loops, and conditionals. Third graders will learn about simulations and continue working on their word processing with their April paragraphs. Second graders will continue to work on Zoombinis!
Check out our 4th Graders partner programming using code.org!