The Importance of Tinkering: Robotics and Coding

Spheros, Snap Circuits and Ozobots

We have been exploring a variety of robotics and coding tools in the Learning Commons. Students are highly interested and motivated to ‘play’ with technology that they have not used before. I introduced the tools with only loose guidelines so that the students would have the opportunity to figure them out independently or in their small groups.

The 5/6 class needed to explore the items for two 50 minute blocks before they were ready to start to create programs. By the end of the second block they began to have a better understanding of the potential of the robots and this would not have been possible if they had not had the opportunity to tinker and play before beginning the programming.

Dash, Ozobots, Cubelets


Binary Coding with Beads

Students were excited to learn more about binary code. After discussing the numbered data language and looking at examples we blended in our ‘I Am a Maker’ theme and created stands of beads with our message in binary code. The activity was completed during one Grade 4/5, 40 minute learning commons prep class. The strands are hanging on display in the LC with a chart and informational sign.

I found an easy to read chart and we used perler beads as they are inexpensive and have large holes. I chose plastic craft string for ease of threading but any slightly stiff thread would work. Students tied a black bead at the beginning. This holds the beads on but also delineates the start of the message so it can be read correctly.


Gathering S.T.E.A.M – Binary Code

This week in the Learning Commons, students got creative by blending Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

img_5123Some classes learned about Binary Code. Binary Code represents computer data using any two-symbol system, often 0 and 1. It is the language of computers. Students used guides to create strings of beads that show their initials in binary code. I used Perler Beads for this science and technology activity as these beads are easy to thread, create a ‘tube’ of code and are inexpensive to purchase.

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Book of the Year, Imagine a day, Coding and Kindness

Lots of great things have been happening in the Learning Commons this week. Kindergarten to Grade 2 students have begun enjoying the nominations for the Surrey Schools’ Picture Book of the Year. Students used Balloon Stickie App to label images from the book.
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Ms. Dhaliwal and Mrs. Lutz’s classes worked on ‘Imagine A Day’ by Sarah Thompson. Students created their own imaginative ideas, designed a background using Color Effects App and added text using Pic Collage App. They blogged their fantastic creations.

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Many classes also experimented with coding and blogged a screen shot from the Hour of Code.

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And finally, #KindnessCounts. Students have been nominating their peers as recipients of the Kindness Counts Trophy. Accounts are tweeted in the student’s own words and photos are posted on the @VanierLC twitter account. Check out last week’s Kindness Stars on Storify.

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Hour of Code, Character and Setting, Friendship

What a great time students had experimenting with creating javascript computer code during International Hour of Code Week. 15 million students worldwide participated. Check out the tutorials here.

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Students in Division 10 talked about friendship and we read Chris Raschka’s Book ‘Yo! Yes?’ and created our own interpretation of the story. We tweeted out our video and Chris Raschka favourited our work!

Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka and Division 10 from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

While reading some great Christmas stories, we discussed how to determine character and setting. Some Grade 1 and 2 students contributed to a slideshare to show their learning.

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