Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Exploration: the final frontier - Digital technologies and PBL at OLOL Seven Hills

Stage 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Seven Hills have been integrating the digital technologies strand from the new Science and technology K-6 syllabus in their project based learning activities for Exploration: the Final Frontier.

Students were investigating the solar system, and in particular, comparing the liveability of MARS in the solar system to Earth using the Earth liveability index.  

Based on their research, students created a large map in groups to represent the features of Mars using google Mars as an aid, and the liveability/non liveability on the planet. 

They then had a choice to either program Spheros as a simulated Mars Rover to identify features on their map, or use Scratch to present animated information using sprites on the program to show the liveability of objects on the planet. 

Program and Outcomes met

Key information about the program
The students entry events were videos of the original Lost in Space and then looking at the new Lost in Space and how digital technologies have changed.

Students inquired about the possibility of living on another planet.   Their 1st benchmark was: what makes a planet habitable?  As a result of their brainstorming they realised only Mars could be liveable. Students worked in pairs to constructed their own liveability index and then compared earth with Mars 

A key event for students knowledge and engagement in this project was going to see the Mars Rover at the Powerhouse and visiting the Sydney Observatory straight after benchmark 1.

Organisation and documentation of student's work for the project was arranged through Google classroom. Students were grouped for their projects in Google classroom to streamline submission and marking of group assignments.  

Google classroom also provided a great way of students sharing their own expertise in programming in Scratch or with the Spheros.  

Students created Screencastifys to support other students.

The program was integrated with the English program which was looking at animation through the links of  watching an animation on Planet unknown.

Reflection on the program so far
Teacher Lucy Messina reflects that she and the other teachers are pleased with the outcome from their beginning steps in the digital technologies programming area but will adjust things for next year based on their new skills and understanding around this syllabus and with programming.  

Children at all levels were engaged and learning at all levels and teachers took it on board and happy to experiment and also let the students be experts at certain times.  Having an integrated program with clear and purposeful connections to the digital technologies syllabus was also a key factor in the success of the learning program.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

St. Finbar’s exploring the use of Blue-Bots in Mathematics

At St. Finbar’s Glenbrook, the children in Stage 2 and Stage 3 have been using Blue-Bots to explore measurement concepts and developing coding programming skills.

Stage 2 Exploring Perimeter with Blue-Bots

Stage 2 students used the Blue-Bots to explore the measurement concept of perimeter. As this was their first experience with this kind of robotic technology. The students began by estimating how far a Blue-Bot travels with each programmed forward move. They confirmed the distance by measuring accurately with rulers or tape measures. Children converted these measurements between mm and cm.

Then students were introduced to the symbols of coding. In teams, they were challenged to programme (code) their Blue-Bots in teams to travel a perimeter of more than 80cm. They recorded their programming code in their Mathematics books. Students verbally discussed in their group and wrote reasoning statements to prove how they have been successful or the changes they needed to make to fix the programming code if they were not successful.

After this session, the children in Stage 2 also used the Lightbots Website (link below) to further explore basic coding programming concepts.

Stage 2 Blue-Bot Obstacle Course

The children used their understanding of basic coding programming concepts to create an obstacle course for their Blue-Bots to travel through.

The students worked in small groups of 4. They coded their Blue-Bots to travel through the course and return to their original starting position. The students recorded the coding instructions used in their Mathematics books, so that they had a point of reference as they programmed their Blue-Bots. Students then collaborated, communicated and problem solved their way through trying to fix the programming errors as they trialled their Blue-Bots navigating through the obstacle course.


Stage 3 Exploring Area with Blue-Bots.

Stage 3 students used the Blue-Bots to explore the measurement concept of area. The students began by estimating how far a Blue-Bot travels with each programmed forward move. They confirmed the distance by measuring accurately with rulers or tape measures. Children then worked with a scale of 1 movement forward = 15 or 16cm.

Once introduced to the symbols of coding. In teams, they were challenged to programme (code) their Blue-Bots in teams to travel an area of more than 1800 square centimetres. Students worked out the mathematical calculations for their programmed areas and recorded their programming code in their Mathematics books. Students verbally discussed in their group and wrote reasoning statements to prove how they have been successful or the changes they needed to make to fix the programming code if they were not successful. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Coding at OLN Lawson

At Our Lady of Nativity Lawson all students ES1-Stage 3 developed computational thinking coding for integrated STEM activities using coding with a range of robotics. 

Stage 1  had so much fun learning the functionality of our blue tooth robots the Blue Bots and Spheros and using them to deepen our knowledge of 2D shapes and 4 shape patterning . Students are developing computational skills , creating and debugging simple programmes.

The two pictures show students (programming) coding a hexagon on the iPad (mirrored on the apple TV) to instruct Blue bot to draw a hexagon on the carpet. It involves programming repeats and 45 degree angles.

Robots in Literacy to Assist Writing Narratives
After the teacher narrated a story ‘The Seed’ using story cards, students were asked to retell the sequence of events by coding Blue Bot and narrating the story in pairs. 

The writing scaffold was put up on the board for students to write their narrative.

The picture below shows a St 1 student reinforcing a 4 shape pattern lesson by
using a robot to follow the contour of 4 2D shapes and repeating.

Kinders have also enjoyed learning the functionality of Sphero blue tooth robots. Commanding a sequence of steps (algorithms) via an ipad is also assisting hand eye co-ordination and problem solving.

Students coding a ‘fast race’ for ozobots. Students had to read and
comprehend the Code Reference Sheet and use computational thinking to
complete the task.

Students have narrated stories and coded Bee Bot robots to perform algorithms
to arrive at destinations on the story mat. This encourages creativity and
sequencing of ideas in storytelling and the development of coding skills.

Stages 2&3
To further students knowledge of Angles & Time, we have coded ozobot
robots to knock down 6 pins in a FAST bowling game in a right angle
configuration as a ‘Learning Hook’. Students had to predict the time it would
take and time the game to test .
When using coloured line code ozobot reads the four colours Red ,Green Blue &
Black and students are required to use the Code Reference Sheet for pre existing
codes & speeds. Ozobot immitates real life robots that read coloured lines in
factories nursing homes etc. all over the world.
Ozobot robots can be coded 3 ways –
1. Cloured line code
2. Dragging coded blocks on othe zoblockly site on a chrome book
3. Coding on an ipad using the ozogroove app.
After the initial Learning Hook students were given a rich task to
complete in maths. They were asked to design a new FAST 6 pin bowling
game which was not a right angle configuration. This required drawing on
prior learning of angles and testing prototypes/conducting time trials to
see if the new design was a faster bowling game. Evidence of exhaustive
mathematical thinking was required and documented.

Students were required to decompose shapes when coding a dance.Students were required to decompose shapes when coding a dance.

When coding Snow Soccer students were asked to explore other 2D shapes that
were not rectangles and justify their choices.
 Look out Fifa World Cup Soccer here
comes OLN Sphero Soccer. On the eve of Australia’s game against Peru students held their own World
Cup Sphero Soccer in the library for ES1-Stage 3. Students coded spheros for the
Aus w Peru game. We used books and Dewey shelving displays as barriers for
the soccer field.
View the videos for the coding activities below at the following links:
Ozobots at OLN
Sphero Soccer at OLN

Monday, 25 June 2018

Exploring and understanding living habitats through a digital representation

The project
In this science project, students at St Luke's Marsden Park were carrying out an inquiry based learning approach to understanding living habitats. Students were learning that living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. They learnt that the growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment. 

Students then used Ozobots to build environments that are designed to to meet the needs of living things. Students looked at the social and environmental factors that will influence the design of of their habitats. 

The driving question 
How can we as zoologists, create a habitat for living things, so that we can help them to survive in their environment?  

The process
Students created a collaborative report of their chosen animal that describes how structural features and other adaptations of living things help them to survive in their environment. Once students were informed, they created their first  prototype of the habitat design. The students then presented their paper prototype to their peers. The students provided feedback on what they liked and next steps for the group,  

As part of that feedback we discovered that most groups did not create a bird’s eye view of the habitat. The students used this information and created their second sketch of the prototype. The students ensured that the feedback was part of their second prototype. Students then began to  build the 3D bird’s eye view model and presented to experts. 

From the students evaluations, it showed that students enjoyed the project and were able to understand the coding component of the task. 

ST3-2VA demonstrates a willingness to engage responsibly with local, national and global issues relevant to their lives, and to shaping sustainable futures
ST3 - 3VA develops informed attitudes about the current and future use and influence of science and technology based on reason
ST3-4WS investigates by posing questions, including testable questions, making predictions and gathering data to draw evidence- based conclusions and develop explanations
ST3-5WT  plans and implements a design process, selecting a range of tools, equipment, materials and techniques to produce solutions that address the design criteria and identified constraints

ST3-10LW describes how structural features and other adaptations of living things help them to survive in their environment
ST3 -11LW describes some physical conditions of the environment and how these affect the growth and survival of living things
ST3-14BE describes systems in built environments and how social and environmental factors influence their design 

Length of program
Wk 1-10

  • initiate or help to organise group activities that address a common need
  • select and use appropriate ICT tools safely to share and exchange information and to safely collaborate with others
  • contribute to groups and teams, suggesting improvements in methods used for group investigations and projects
  • identify and explain factors that influence effective communication in a variety of situations
  • devise strategies and formulate plans to assist in the completion of challenging tasks and the maintenance of personal safety
  • independently or collaboratively create and modify digital solutions, creative outputs or data representation/transformation for particular audiences and purposes
  • select from, and safely operate, a range of devices to undertake specific tasks and use basic troubleshooting procedures to solve routine malfunctions
  • use ICT effectively to record ideas, represent thinking and plan solutions
  • assess and test options to identify the most effective solution and to put ideas into action
  • scrutinise ideas or concepts, test conclusions and modify actions when designing a course of action
  • evaluate the effectiveness of ideas, products, performances, methods and courses of action against given criteria
(Highlighted section are some of the skills that were being assessed as part of the project).

Thanks to St Luke's teacher Mrs Koelmeyer for the summary of the project.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Coding across the school at Chisholm - Part 2

Student understanding of coding and the outcomes of the work they have completed at Chisholm can be seen in the following videos.
From these videos you can see development in:
  • Coding language
  • Computational thinking
  • Application to real life
  • Iterative designs
  • Problem solving
  • Collaborative work
The narrative based activity allowed each student the creativity to explore coding without predetermined outcomes.  It provided student with autonomy around how they designed their narrative and determined the programming of their Blue-Bot.

Feedback from Teacher Librarian on impact on learning so far
  • Students have been able to show their thinking and then verbalise and express that as an algorithm.  
  • The simplicity of the blue-bots has meant that students are getting more depth in terms of creativity and understanding before they move onto more coding concepts.  
  • High level of engagement across all stages has been extraordinary. 
  • Social skills from working in groups of three
  • Language skills and directional knowledge
  • Can be easily differentiated and provide success for all students
This program is improving awareness among the school community of coding.
Parents are saying that their children talking about  the coding program at home and what they are learning.

Evaluation on learning for students
Feedback will be done early Term 2 with students providing feedback to each group about their code and suggestions for improvement, as well as feedback with the group and self reflection.

Student evaluation will be done via two methods means:

1.  A whole class activity:
  • 1-2 students: Their page is given to other students selected at random to set up the grid mat with the pictures, and another pair of randomly selected students enter the code using the page of code, not looking at the grid.
  • As a class we ask the questions and allocate the ticks: green tick - very successful, black tick - successful eventually, sad face - unsuccessful.

  • Class discusses the medals and missions and select the most relevant mission

    • 2. Self evaluation
      In addition to the whole class evaluating each group's code, each student will complete their own self evaluation.

      Tuesday, 10 April 2018

      Coding across the school at Chisholm - Part 1

      Chisholm Catholic Primary School Teacher Librarian Fiona Lark has been introducing coding to all year groups across the school in Term 1 of 2018.  The aim being to focus on developing familiarity and fluency with computational thinking practices.

      The approach was to provide a narrative based coding design to develop computational thinking where students are designing, coding, iterating and debugging. This approach provides students with more opportunities to really learn about coding and makes it more student-centric and relatable.

      The Learning Action Plan across all grades was:
      To plan, program and introduce a progression of basic coding activities from K-6, integrated across other KLAs.

      Success criteria across all grades:
      • Students will work together to solve problems
      • Students will construct a basic narrative using control technologies
      • Students can create simple algorithms for others to solve
      • Teacher will have developed a coding strategy to build coding skills across the school

      To achieve this it was decided to use Blue-Bots as the robotic tool to introduce coding from K-6.  It provided a continuum for the teacher to program across all stages.

      Students would have a session each week on coding.

      See the program docs:

      Differentiation across the grades:

      • K - Focused on  basic navigation and coding concepts using the Blue-bots with pre-made mats
      • Stage 1 - Focused on creating their own coding program based on well known stories - The Very Hungry Caterpillar or We're Going on a Bear hunt or Rosie's Walk (used purpose made cards for the story)
      • Stage 2-3 Focused on creating a program to represent a narrative they created.
      Individual learning intentions and success criteria were co-constructed with each stage.

      Parents involvement

      Resources used across all grades
      Created plastic 4x4 grid mats
      Templates for their story and coding
      Story cards from The Learning Exchange - Bear walk , Rosies Walk and The Hungry Caterpillar
      Blue-bots (18)

      Part 2 coming soon

      Thursday, 1 March 2018

      Introducing the new Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus

      CEDP Schools were introduced to the new Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus (2017) in a 30 minute webinar.

      A recording of the webinar is here:

      The new syllabus will be fully implemented in 2019 with familiarisation and professional learning support by CEDP in 2018.

      Professional learning support will be available for two teachers per school.  Details will be provided by Need to Know.

      Links to the main documents supporting this syllabus:

      Slides from the webinar: