Monday, May 22, 2017

Creating Life Cycle Models

This was a very fun filled STEAM activity! Our first graders are exploring the lifecycles of various plant and animals, so for this activity, we studied the lifecycles of a frog, a butterfly, a plant, and an apple.  I'm going to tell you how we  integrated technology, science and engineering all in one activity!

First I'll talk about how we integrated technology and science.  To start the activity, four stations were set up around the room; students were asked to scan  the QR code at their station. They were taken to either an online book or video which taught them about the lifecycle of the plant or animal at their station.

Engineering was easily integrated into this project… each student had their own play dough and were asked to construct each stage of the lifecycle for their plant or animal.Some students rushed through constructing each stage quickly in hope they would be able to “play” with the play dough, so I found it very helpful to continuously remind the class to take their time and to make each structure look as detailed as possibly.  Overall, this project was very successful, educational, and fun for the kids!

Animal Classification Scavenger Hunt

Lesson prepared and recap written by Jessica Yandell:
In order to help our second graders become more familiar with animal classifications, we did an animal classification QR scavenger hunt during STEAM.  What I liked most about this activity was that it allowed our students to actively learn through exploration and problem solving.  

There were thirteen QR codes and pictures of different animals placed around the room. Beside each picture was a QR code with an animal classification question. Students had to answer the questions correctly in order to proceed to the next QR code; if questions were answered incorrectly, they would not be able to get through the scavenger hunt.  Students worked in pairs to complete the scavenger hunt.  

Things I found helpful… In order to allow more space at each station, I set up two scavenger hunts, one on the right side of the room and one on the left; I split the class in half and told group A their hunt was located on the right side of the room and group B was located on the left side of the room. Each group were responsible for filling out a scavenger hunt question sheet, which I felt help the students to stay on task, as well as, ensure they had answered the questions correctly.  If students filled in the wrong answer, they would have to backtrack through the hunt to reattempt the question and figure out their next QR code destination.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pre-K Early Coding Activities

Recap of Early Coding Opportunities for our preschoolers written by Mrs. Becky Wieldraayer: 

I was reading in TYC magazine (Teaching Young Children/Preschool) about activities to introduce young children to coding.   It suggested having the children play games that incorporate math and literacy.  We played board games like Hi Ho! Cherry-O , Chutes and Ladders .
The article also suggested some books to introduce coding.   We first read Mapping Penny’s World.    The book went along beautifully with our plant unit and our garden dramatic play center.   There were gardening books in the center that included maps of gardens.   Some of the students were so excited to draw maps of their plan for a garden.   Other students wanted to draw maps of their bedrooms.
The second book that we read was Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding.  This book talks about problem-solving, planning and patterning.  We had fun coding various sequences that included clapping, twirling, stomping and jumping.  The students used a Lego girl (they named her Mella) and using grid paper had to get her from a starting point  to ending point.   They had to do this by giving her commands such as two blocks forward; three blocks to the right, etc.   A favorite activity was hiding a ‘treasure’ in the room and giving commands to Mrs. Davenport to take steps through obstacles in the room until she found the flower.

It was so exciting when Mrs. Yandell came to our room with robots !   The students were well-prepared to understand what they were to do with the robots to have them move.