Recently our students had the pleasure of extending and building upon their coding skills using Beebots from CSER’s Lending Library. The Beebot kit was especially chosen in light of our school being very new and in many ways, starting from scratch in incorporating technology within a Visible Thinking approach to Learning.
In fact, our approach to develop a Culture of Thinking here at St Paul the Apostle School, is to make thinking visible in an environment which is based on thinking routine and opportunities that help connect and extend. In using the Beebot kit, we found that this was the perfect platform for our students as the Beebot kit presented a scenario for our students to apply their thinking and problem solving skills but also the opportunity to create a game or story with the Beebots.The use of story maps and number cards allowed for many possibilities and using Thinking Routines such as ‘See, Think, Wonder’, the students applied their imagination in creating stories and games for the Beebots to complete. It was an authentic context for coding as the Beebots provided the children with a visualisation of the code that they entered.
The story mats and number cards also provided the context for the coding and it was here that we could see the possibilities – in particular students creating their own story mats and designing games for each other. To formalise this, the Senior students were able to participate in a ‘Kids Teaching Kids’ program and work with Prep students. The Senior students created games for the Prep students with the primary aim of reinforcing directionality however we found that many students would incorporate their own cards, symbols and dice in their own unique creations. In this scenario, letting the students ‘See, Think, Wonder’ allowed for a personalised level of engagement, enhancement and support that the students will remember for a long time.
All in all, our students now continue to use our own school Beebot kit in not only building on the games that they created but also in using the Beebots as a tool in everyday learning experiences in Literacy and Mathematics. It was interesting recently to hear some of our Junior students say that the Beebots can ‘tell stories’ and that ‘they help you measure’. Many thanks to CSER for the use of the Beebot Lending kit – our entry into robotics was greatly enhanced by this wonderful initiative.
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